MORGANTOWN - Every once in a while, it's refreshing to hear a college football coach speak honestly.
Dana Holgorsen, on occasions, has those moments.
They won't come when the question is in regard to, oh, say the progress of his offense or defense, or when the subject matter is personnel. In that regard, he's like pretty much everyone else of his ilk, careful not to divulge anything particularly insightful or critical, save for those instances when doing so can be beneficial to his agenda.
In that vein, motivational nuggets come to mind, as when he might randomly call out Geno Smith for thinking he knows more than he does or wonder aloud about whether his receivers or his linemen or pretty much any
other group will ever really get it.
Conversely, he might praise a backup who really has little legitimate chance of ever contributing much, the notion being to light a fire under the guy in front of him who will.
It's coachspeak, and paranoid coaches everywhere do it.
Thus, when on the same day that West Virginia began its fall camp last week, the Mountaineers were greeted by a No. 11 national ranking in the USA Today coaches poll, it was incumbent upon the media to ask Holgorsen about the ranking.
Here's the standard answer, given by virtually every coach who has ever lived and been ranked:
"It's nice, but who cares? Why pay any attention to it? No one has played a game. Ask me in December when it matters.''
And here was Holgorsen's answer:
"It's important to be in the Top 20. The Top 20 teams get more recognition, so it's good to be there. We're happy about being there.''
And honest, too.
Any coach who tells you that the rankings don't matter until December is either one of two things: He's a motivator (as all coaches are) who downplays polls because he detests the idea that his players will see them and get too full of themselves, or he's blind to reality (which few coaches are).
Holgorsen certainly understands the motivational appeal in dismissing polls, which is why after admitting his team's No. 11 ranking was a plus, he also added the requisite caveat.
"Are we going to throw a party about it? Probably not. Are we going to talk about it? Probably not,'' he said. "It's an honor to be there and it's good for program and it's good publicity. But it's not going to change anything we do.