On offense, after throwing 24 touchdown passes in his first five games, quarterback Geno Smith has just two in the last two weeks. Holgorsen would like to see better pass protection to enable Smith to throw downfield more often.
Smith blamed himself after the Kansas State loss for not doing a better job of leadership. Holgorsen said he's talked to Smith about that.
"If he thinks that all this falls on his shoulders, he's sadly mistaken,'' Holgorsen said. "He needs to relax a little bit and not bear that burden. That's not his job. We're going to get him back on track from the standpoint of just worrying what he needs to control.''
Lately, good weeks of practice haven't translated to solid games. The Mountaineers have been outscored 104-28 in losses to Kansas State and No. 15 Texas Tech and find themselves needing a turnaround to keep pace with the first-place Wildcats (7-0, 4-0).
There's games left against four of the six teams that are tied with or ahead of the Mountaineers in the Big 12 standings, starting Nov. 3 at home against TCU (5-2, 2-2). The Horned Frogs will be West Virginia's third straight opponent allowing fewer than 330 yards a game. Only two FBS teams have more interceptions than TCU's 14.
Last year in its final season in the Big East, the Mountaineers trailed by two games in the loss column with three weeks left in the season. They won their three remaining games, teams ahead of them lost and West Virginia earned the league's automatic BCS berth.
"We bounced back last year,'' Holgorsen said. "This is different because of who we're playing. We're playing some pretty good teams.''
Staying patience with the game plan will be key. Holgorsen said he tells his players all the time that if they are going to rely on the coaching staff to make the perfect call every single play, then failure is inevitable.
"Nobody can do that. Nobody can make the perfect call all the time,'' he said. "So we can put you in position the best we possibly can. We need to do a better job.''