MORGANTOWN - West Virginia's football team learned its bowl destination and opponent exactly a month before the game was to be played. That was just over a week ago, and in that time coach Dana Holgorsen has done very little to familiarize the Mountaineers with that opponent.
Don't expect him to rush into it this week, either.
There's such a thing as too much preparation, and Holgorsen wants to make certain that between now and WVU's Jan. 4 Orange Bowl date with Clemson that he doesn't fall into that trap.
"You don't want to show them a bunch of Clemson film right now. The game is a month away,'' Holgorsen said late last week after putting his team through the first of the NCAA's permitted 15 bowl practices. "We've talked about this a bunch going back to [preseason] camp. We didn't work on Marshall until about two weeks before the game. It allows them to be students and allows them to rest. They can get back into lifting shape and keep the conditioning.''
Indeed, if Holgorsen were to begin inundating his players with specifics about Clemson now, more than three weeks in advance of the Orange Bowl, there is the definite possibility of overkill. And besides, there are other issues that have to be addressed.
First are final exams, which are scheduled this week. After practicing last Friday and Saturday - that was following a week off after beating South Florida in the regular-season finale - the players are off this week until another pair of practices on Friday and Saturday. That also allows the coaching staff time to recruit.
After finals are over, the team will squeeze in eight practices before a short Christmas break, during which most of the game-planning for Clemson will be done. That will leave five practices in Miami, Fla., leading up to the game.
Holgorsen compares it to spring practice, but in reality it's more like an abbreviated August camp. The first part is working on basics, then getting serious about Clemson before tapering off as the game approaches.
It's a routine that Holgorsen has been through before, dating back to his days on Mike Leach's staff at Texas Tech.