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Holgorsen will only talk about injured players who are out

MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin will play Saturday when the 18th-ranked Mountaineers play at Maryland.

Austin, the team's leading receiver with 143 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions, injured a finger early in the win against Norfolk State, but finished the game. Coach Dana Holgorsen told the Charleston Daily Mail on Monday Austin had "some sort of work" done, but that he expected the junior form Baltimore to practice and play.

Holgorsen declined to discuss the injury in his press conference Tuesday apart from saying Austin is "not out, so we're not going to talk about it." He repeated what he's maintained since the start of preseason practice and said he'll only talk about players who are out.

In addition to offensive lineman Josh Jenkins, who had season-ending knee surgery in July, freshman defensive back Terrell Chestnut also is out for the season. Holgorsen said Chestnut, from Pottstown, Pa., had surgery on his left shoulder and will be back for spring practice.

"Other than those two guys, we have a roster full of people who are day-to-day," Holgorsen said. "Even the healthy guys are day-to-day. They may go cuckoo on us or something, and we'll have to adjust them. But everyone is day-to-day unless I say they're out."

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HOLGORSEN SPENT  Monday preparing a game plan for the Terrapins (1-0) by watching the first game against Miami (Fla.), but also considering the opposing influences of Coach Randy Edsall and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

Edsall's trademark with Connecticut the previous 12 seasons was physical football and a capable running game. Crowton did a little of that previously as a coordinator, but also was the head coach of teams that threw the ball a lot.

"It's an interesting dynamic, it really is," Holgorsen said. "You're watching what they did at UConn - and I watched it from a far - but watching what they did at UConn, what they did is far from what we'll see Saturday. They'll still get in a couple of different tight end sets and pound the ball at you.

"If you look back at Coach Crowton and where he's been the past few years at LSU, he'd pound it at you. Then you go back to when he was (head coach) at Louisiana Tech, it was nothing but spread. They'll do a bunch of stuff to us."

Despite the dramatic differences between the reputations of Edsall and Crowton, Holgorsen saw something pretty familiar.

"What they showed against Miami was a lot of stuff that we do," he said. "We try to get the ball out of our hand quickly and utilize the perimeter as space to try to get the ball to."

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SENIOR RECEIVER Brad Starks has two receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown this season. Both of his receptions went for first downs and one was a 30-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against Norfolk State.

Of his 67 career receptions, eight have been touchdowns and 38 have been for a first down.

"He's getting better," Holgorsen said. "I didn't want to talk about him a month ago, but based on the last three weeks and him being out there practicing hard, he's on track and getting better and better.

"He's sitting on the third team right now, but if he has a good week of practice, he may be on the second team. He may be on the first team."

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HOLGORSEN HAS coached as an offensive coordinator four times against Maryland defensive coordinator Todd Bradford and once when Bradford was a defensive coordinator. Holgorsen's Houston team beat Bradford's Southern Mississippi team, 50-43, in 2009.

Bradford has seven returning starters. He uses a 4-3 with a hybrid safety/linebacker as a linebacker. The Terrapins forced four turnovers and scored two defensive touchdowns against Miami.

"You watch them on tape and it's like, 'Whoa,' " Holgorsen said. "They've got some good- looking kids and they've got some experience. Their two defensive tackles are guys that are very active and play hard and anytime you're sound right there, that's a big part of that defense.

"They can give you some problems. They've got a ton of experience at linebacker. A couple of those guys run really well and get to the ball. Their corners, one took one for what was the game-winning touchdown. They've got a lot of experienced guys."

Holgorsen's offense does not and even his familiarity with Bradford when he was at Oklahoma State and Mississippi State only means so much. As a head coach, Holgorsen said he's beginning to expect the unexpected from opposing defenses.

"It's a bit of guesswork and rolling the dice on their part," Holgorsen said. "That's what I've seen. You watch a bunch of film and you develop tendencies of the defense to try to figure out what they're going to do. You call plays based on what you think they're going to do.

"Sometimes you start a play, and they hit it right in the teeth. It's discouraging as a coach when it's a tendency they didn't previously show. You have to know that people are going to change tendencies. We need to be more alert on the sidelines between plays and between series to figure it all out."

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


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