MORGANTOWN - Time and again Monday, Dana Holgorsen was prodded to pinpoint the blame for West Virginia's rather humiliating offensive performance in a 37-0 loss to Maryland Saturday in Baltimore.
He never really took the bait.
He was asked about his young quarterback and the growing pains that Ford Childress is going through in just two college appearances. He brushed it off and talked about "bigger issues.''
He was queried on the play of his offensive line, which certainly did little to help that young quarterback. He spoke of "plenty of blame to go around.''
The closest he came, perhaps, was when someone on Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference brought up the fact that the six wide receivers who played combined for all of one catch.
"Yeah, it would be nice to get receivers the ball,'' Holgorsen admitted. "That's why they call them receivers, so they can catch a ball every now and then. We're pretty inept at that.''
But even then, his answers kept coming back to the same thing. It was the factor he immediately cited in the aftermath of Saturday's shutout and seems intent upon citing until the problems are fixed.
It's Holgorsen himself, the erstwhile offensive genius.
"That's nothing on them. They're working hard. We've got guys that want to play. We've got guys that are in position,'' he said of his receivers. "We're not clicking and that falls a hundred percent on me. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody other than me. We've got to coach them better, we've got to get back out there to work and we've got to execute like we know how to do.''
Whatever the issues, they need to be addressed quickly. Through four games, the Mountaineers are 2-2 and have yet to hit the most difficult part of the schedule. That begins with the first of eight straight Big 12 games, Saturday at home against No. 11 Oklahoma State (noon kickoff, ESPN). After that comes No. 19 Baylor, then No. 24 Texas Tech.
"I've got to do a better job of coaching them,'' Holgorsen said. "We've got to get guys in a position to execute what we're asking them to do. That's not happening very much, so I'm not pointing a finger at anybody but myself. We're going to coach them harder this week. We're going to get them more prepared to play. ... I've just got to do a better job. And if I do a better job, then the rest of the guys will do a better job, as well.''
In Holgorsen's defense, he is dealing with some issues, not the least of which is running a quarterback-centric offense with a quarterback who until 10 days ago had never taken a college snap. He also lost his top three receivers - including arguably the two best in school history - and that offensive line had to be rebuilt in the middle.
And, too, there was the Maryland factor. The Terps are 4-0 now.