They are playing, though, at the expense of players with more natural talent, at least two of whom are no longer on the team. Freshman Travares Copeland left last week and on Monday Holgorsen confirmed - via a one-paragraph press release - that junior Ivan McCartney had left the team. McCartney only a week earlier was a starter, but was left at home for the trip to OSU.
And while there is far more to West Virginia's current slide than just attitude, Holgorsen seems convinced that improving that aspect of the game must be a precursor to any technical improvements. He said he has seen some improvement after altering somewhat his approach with the team.
It wasn't a matter of making big changes or trying dramatically new things, but rather an attitude adjustment.
"It's more about trying some new things from a mentality standpoint as far as getting the guys ready to play and getting them excited to play,'' Holgorsen said. "I think we accomplished that last week. It didn't turn out good, but our approach was good and I think our energy going into the game was good. We didn't start the game very good but we played OK.''
And now, with four losses in a row, a Top 25 team coming to town and bowl eligibility still unsecured?
"I think we're fine. Not happy, but still motivated,'' Holgorsen said. "I thought our approach last week was good, thought our effort last week was good. I expect it to be the same way this week. I mean, it better be. We've got a good Top 10 team coming to Morgantown and it's going to be on national TV. We've got to play good.''
There are just 10 and Austin and Bailey are the only teammates on the list. The others are Brandin Cooks of Oregon State, Austin Franklin of New Mexico State, Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas, Austin Hill of Arizona, Deandre Hopkins of Clemson, Marqise Lee of Southern California, Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech and Terrance Williams of Baylor.
The three finalists will be announced next Monday and the winner on Dec. 6.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.