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WVU football: Holgorsen eyes internal changes first

MORGANTOWN -- Dana Holgorsen is set up in an office at the end of the hallway inside the Puskar Center that houses the rest of the coaches on the offensive staff.

The space West Virginia's offensive coordinator works in today is the space his predecessor worked in the previous three seasons.

Come January, Holgorsen will move again, this time to the office of Head Coach Bill Stewart, who Holgorsen was hired in December to replace beginning in 2012.

That's one of a few upgrades Holgorsen plans to make while in charge of the Mountaineers.

"This is a good, functional building," he said. "The players park, come in, they meet, they eat, they lift, they dress. Very functional. But there are always things you can do better. Like those two pictures right there, right?"

With that, Holgorsen gestures to a wall from across where he sits in his office and at framed action photographs of former WVU quarterbacks Patrick White and Jarrett Brown. Those are the remaining decorative effects of Jeff Mullen, who coached both players when he was on the Mountaineers staff from 2008-10.

"How old are those?" Holgorsen said. "There's always stuff like that that you can improve. That's in the whole building. Furniture can always improve. Pictures can always improve. The weight room floor can always improve. Weight room equipment can always improve. The training table can always improve. The study table in the back. The computers get old and you've got to replace the computers with new ones.

"That is something that never changes. The stadium, there hasn't been work to the stadium in a long time."

Holgorsen is interested in modern amenities and luxuries alike.

"How many people are building suites nowadays?" he said. "Why do they do it?

"You make money. They buy them and you make money. That's something that hasn't been done around here that's been on everybody's mind. Our boss, it's on his mind every single day."

He echoes what his boss, Athletic Director Oliver Luck, has said about renovating Milan Puskar Stadium to keep the program competitive regionally and nationally.

In describing facility upgrades at Texas Christian University, which comes to the Big East in 2012, Holgorsen noted the school built an indoor practice facility with a field "that's 100 yards with plenty of run-off." WVU's indoor facility has a 70-yard field and the ceiling is low enough that the team can't work on punting or kicking or special teams.

He's seen change elsewhere, too. Holgorsen spent the 2010 season at Oklahoma State and witnessed the results of a lengthy and expensive renovation to the football facilities there.

"You can always gear everything you do toward making the facilities better," he said. "That's never going to change. About the time Oklahoma State finished their $400 million renovation on the stadium, we were trying to find money to build an indoor facility or better practice fields.

"That's never going to change, no matter where you're at. You're always going to try to make your facilities better - and if you're not trying to make them better, then you're getting passed up."

*  *  *

HOLGORSEN, WHO is the team's quarterbacks coach this season, received some potentially good news Wednesday. Quarterback Geno Smith announced he's planning to be "full go" when spring practice begins March 21.

The rising junior from Miramar, Fla., had surgery in January to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. It had been expected he'd be held out or limited in Holgorsen's first spring.

"My foot's doing well," Smith said. "I've got my final X-ray Monday and I'll pretty much be full go for the spring unless something else comes up."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at 


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