MORGANTOWN - Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while wondering if perhaps we've underestimated Dana Holgorsen's ability to seamlessly transit into head coaching mode:
After all, that's the overriding question here about this transfer of power, right? Head coaches on the Division I level can't afford to be simply football guys whose every waking moments are devoted to the X's and O's of the game. They have to learn to be diplomats and personalities and quasi-politicians, as well as administrators and troubleshooters and, yes, even babysitters at times. Few of those talents are required of coaches whose primary responsibility is to actually coach.
Now granted, this is the best time of the year to exercise those skills. It's the easiest, too. Not only is West Virginia's new head coach not burdened by the task of actually coaching players in June, he's prohibited from doing so. August and October will be far more difficult. Still, why not spend this time honing those skills?
Still, if Holgorsen's debut is any indication, who needs the practice? In a matter of a few short days after his promotion last Friday night, Holgorsen managed to meet and glad-hand with influential people, bond with the only West Virginian with a higher public profile (Bob Huggins), endear himself to a legion of West Virginians by doing what they do (go fishing) and then, in an off-the-wall act for the ages, jump out of an airplane and crash land safely.
Then it took him all of another few hours to return to his office, meet with his team and inspire them with skydiving tales of trust and working together for a common goal.
Oh, and not for a second to be discarded is the fact that by doing all of that - particularly the 10,000-foot leap - he managed to completely change the public discourse on his job status from what-the-heck-just-happened straight into what-the-heck-will-he-do-next.
The bottom line is that more people now are looking forward than are looking back, and it's all because Holgorsen was able to steer the conversation that way.
Intentionally? Well, quite frankly, one would have to be enormously cynical to believe that Holgorsen planned it this way. "Let's jump out of an airplane and hope that someone notices.'' It was noticed, of course, but only because one TV camera happened to be there. Otherwise it would have been little more than urban legend.
Still, you have to be a bit naïve, too, to believe that at no point during all of this did Holgorsen think, "Yeah, this will change the discussion.''
Again, the true test will come when Holgorsen has to begin dividing his time, not merely doing things when it is convenient to do them. But if first impressions are any indication, he certainly has mastered the flair aspect.
Wondering why, nearly a week after he was pushed out, no one has heard much from Holgorsen's predecessor, Bill Stewart?
Well, it's not from a lack of trying to contact him.