"You've got to understand what your role is and you have to be excited about it,'' Holgorsen said. "And if you're not happy about what your role is, then change it.''
That's certainly happened on offense, where Ivan McCartney, K.J. Myers and Daikiel Shorts were given the starting jobs at receiver to start the season, lost them to Kevin White, Ronald Carswell and Mario Alford after two weeks, then worked themselves right back into the mix again.
Shorts, a true freshman, really took his demotion to heart. When he got the chance against Georgia State, he caught two touchdown passes.
"He had a bad game last week and he knew it,'' Holgorsen said. "He didn't pout. We named Mario the starter and he didn't pout about it. He worked hard and got into position to play.
"K.J. Myers is the same way. We tried putting Kevin White in front of him as the starter and he didn't pout about it. He worked his butt off and then when he got the opportunity to get in there, he made a bunch of good third-down catches. So I was proud of the way he responded as well. Ivan went in there and made a couple of plays. Just because we named a couple of other guys starters doesn't mean [the backups] aren't going to play. It takes more than 22 to play.''
Perhaps the best example, though, was at quarterback.
Ford Childress was all but relegated to spectator duty when the season started. He wasn't even allowed to compete for the job for the last week of the preseason and the first two weeks of play.
And then in a matter of days, he not only won the job when it was opened for competition, but passed for 359 yards and three touchdowns in his debut.
"If you're a second-team guy, you need to be ready to get in there at any point and be productive,'' Holgorsen said. "I pat Ford on the back because that's what he did for two games. He knew he was No. 3, [but] he kept his head in it, he worked hard and then when we called his number, he took advantage of the opportunity that was given to him.
"We need a whole team full of people that are like that. You've got to have the next guy ready and when it's your turn to step up and play, you'd better be able to do it.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.