MORGANTOWN - The last time West Virginia's football team enjoyed a week off the Mountaineers took it a bit too far.
They apparently enjoyed the idle time so much they decided to stretch it into another week.
How else to explain that coming off a bye week West Virginia lost its first game to a team that has done absolutely nothing else this season to distinguish itself? The fact is, save for that 49-23 rout of West Virginia, Syracuse is otherwise 2-4 in its last six games and could easily be 0-6 were it not for a blown officials' call in a game against Toledo and a last-ditch field goal at Tulane.
Yet WVU had two weeks to prepare for the Orange and still laid a monumental egg.
Preparation? Flaws in off-week plans and activities? Too much practice or too little practice?
Coach Dana Holgorsen has gone over all of those possibilities in his mind, and he hasn't come up with any light-bulb-over-the-head revelations.
"I think we have a pretty good plan. We've done it the same way for 10 years and it's been relatively successful,'' Holgorsen said Monday. "But doing it the same way we did it four weeks ago and going to Syracuse and getting blown out, yeah, it made me rethink some things.''
What did he come up with?
"We'll treat it relatively similar to the last one,'' Holgorsen said. "Hopefully the outcome will not be the same. We'll talk a lot about that this week.''
The truth is, there aren't a lot of different ways that coaches handle off weeks. There's a formula and every coach on the planet pretty much follows it. You practice enough to stay sharp and physical, you lift weights and you take an extra day or two off to heal. Most coaches will spend a little extra time scrimmaging young players who aren't playing in games, and they'll go recruiting. Then when game week rolls around you get back into the routine.
That's what West Virginia will do between now and the day after Thanksgiving, when the Mountaineers host Pitt in what could be the last Backyard Brawl in the foreseeable future. ESPN on Monday decided to make it a night game, the kickoff coming at 7 p.m.
"We've talked about it. What can we do different? What can we change?'' Holgorsen said. "And from a scheduling standpoint we couldn't come up with anything. We'll do it the same way. We'll just try to approach what we've got to do to get our guys ready to play a little differently.''
Actually, that might be taken care of already.