MORGANTOWN - Have you heard the news?
Dana Holgorsen and his West Virginia coach staff haven't forgotten how to coach the game.
Surely you've heard, right? It was in all the papers, and on the radio and TV and on the Internet.
Not that anyone ever asked or suggested otherwise, mind you. But after back-to-back losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State by a combined score of 104-28, Holgorsen is obviously feeling a bit defensive, and it shows.
It began after the 49-14 beatdown at Texas Tech. It intensified following a 55-14 shellacking at the hands of Kansas State.
And it reached its head earlier this week at Holgorsen's weekly Tuesday press conference.
First came a rather innocuous, if rather poorly stated, question about any changes Holgorsen and his staff might have made. It was poorly stated because the inquisitor seemed to assume changes had been made - "What's the biggest thing you guys have changed in the last two weeks?'' - rather than asking if any were in the works, as might be assumed of a team that had been completely outplayed on offense, defense and special teams.
"Well, seeing as how we decided not to switch back to the 3-3 stack or decided not to go to a 4-2-5 or we decided not to start running the option, we decided not to go with just a hundred percent empty because we had a little bit of success with it against Baylor, then we probably didn't change a whole lot,'' Holgorsen said, the sarcasm fairly dripping.
"Hopefully we got refreshed and our mentality is good and body language is good and our confidence is back up and our players are excited about playing. [Hopefully] we practice hard this week and we get out there and we're excited to play a football game. We'll go out there and play to the best of our ability.''
In other words, "Changes? We don't need no stinking changes.''
Then came an even more pointed question, as in pointed as far away from criticizing the coaching as could possibly be. West Virginia's passing game - especially its vertical passing - hasn't been the same since Stedman Bailey had to sit out the second half at Texas Tech and then was essentially a non-factor against Kansas State. Might that have been related to his health, Holgorsen was asked, and would his return to again form a 1-2 punch with Tavon Austin remedy some of the problems?
Here's where it really veered off course.
"I didn't know we forgot how to coach,'' Holgorsen immediately fired back. "I didn't know our offensive problems were incredibly [affected] by one guy. That's not ever going to happen.
"Are we better with Stedman out there at a hundred percent? Yes. Are we better with a hundred-percent Shawne Alston? Yes. Is that the reason we lost? No. It's not. There's a whole bunch of things that go into it and we're working hard to try and fix them.''