"If you look back at the record we've had, we lost the first two,'' Holgorsen said, referring to defeats in the Hall of Fame and Alamo bowls after the 2000 and 2001 seasons. "We didn't do some things very well, but since then it's been pretty successful.''
Indeed, following those two losses, the teams Holgorsen has coached for are 7-2 in the postseason - he's never coached at the Division I level and not made it to a bowl game. This will, however, be the first BCS bowl he's been involved in.
So what was the difference after those first two years?
"I can't tell you. I can't have you writing about it,'' Holgorsen said. "You don't want to wear them out. You want them to be excited about playing. They want to have a good time and we want to allow them to have a good time, but not too good of a time to the point where they're worn out and ready for it to be over. It's a tricky balance.''
And one of those tricky things to balance is the actual preparation for Clemson.
That's going to be hard enough for a couple of reasons, namely the Tigers' talent at the skill positions and not knowing what to expect - the team that began the season 8-0, the one that then lost three of four, or the one that rebounded to crush Virginia Tech in the ACC title game.
Then again, no matter which Clemson team the Mountaineers end up preparing for, it still can't be overdone.
"You don't need to practice 15 times against Clemson,'' Holgorsen said.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.