WVU football: Trio to miss rest of the season
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia emerged from Saturday's season-opener a winner for a 10th straight season, though not without a loss.
Coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday that linebacker Dozie Ezemma suffered a broken a foot and leg and is out for the season. Ezemma is a fifth-year senior from Pomona, N.Y., who has no additional eligibility. His career is over.
"He got twisted and it's a bad break," Holgorsen said. "He's more than likely going to have to have surgery. That's a blow. He was a backup Buck playing pretty well, but more importantly, he was on about three special teams in a very important role."
Ezemma, junior linebacker Shaq Petteway and sophomore cornerback Nana Kyeremeh are out for the season. Each were backups who played at their position last season and figured to again this season, but each was also a key part of WVU's special teams lineups.
Senior Tyler Anderson, who had just moved inside, replaced Ezemma outside Saturday and made one tackle.
Ezemma is a former walk-on who played previously at the University of New Hampshire in 2009-10. He transferred to WVU in 2011 and redshirted. Ezemma played 12 games last season and finished with five tackles and one sack.
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OKLAHOMA HAS a new special teams coordinator to refresh ideas there, a new defensive line coach to address problems the Sooners had up front last season.
The Sooners also have a new offensive line coach to facilitate a greater emphasis on running the ball on an offense that starts a redshirt freshman at quarterback.
Oklahoma ran the ball 50 times for 305 yards in Saturday's 34-0 win against Louisiana-Monroe, which made for a promising debut for that new offensive line coach. Coach Bob Stoops hired Bill Bedenbaugh away from WVU, where he'd spent the previous two seasons.
Holgorsen doesn't believe Bedenbaugh's familiarity with Holgorsen and his offense will be much of a factor because he said Stoops and Holgorsen already know one another and what they do quite well.
"It goes way beyond (Bedenbaugh), I assure you," Holgorsen said.
Stoops' first offensive coordinator in 1999 was Mike Leach, who left after the season to coach Texas Tech. Holgorsen was an assistant and eventual offensive coordinator there from 2000-07.
Bedenbaugh was with Leach and Holgorsen at Texas Tech from 2000-06 and worked at Arizona from 2007-10 as the offensive line coach and later co-offensive coordinator. His head coach was Mike Stoops, who led the Wildcats from 2004-11 and returned to the Sooners staff as the defensive coordinator last season. Oklahoma's assistant defensive coordinator Tim Kish was with Stoops at Arizona from 2004-11 and worked with Stoops and Bedenbaugh from 2007-11.
In addition to playing Oklahoma when he was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State in 2010, Holgorsen helped the Cowboys to an Alamo Bowl victory over Arizona that season.
"We've competed against each other for 15 years," Holgorsen said. "We've been to clinics together, we hang out together and they know our offense better than anybody that's out there. Adding Bill, I don't know what that does for them. They already know it better than anyone else out there.
"You've still got to be careful with that. You've got to be careful with signals. You've got to be careful with tendencies. You've got to be careful with specific route tendencies because they're as good as anyone in the country understanding that."
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HOLGORSEN IS 2-8 against the Sooners at 0-4 at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Saturday's 7 p.m. game on Fox will be the fifth time Holgorsen has taken on a ranked Oklahoma team at home. Previous Sooners opponents were ranked Nos. 17, 2, 4 and 1.
Stoops is 82-5 at home. Much of the success has to do with how good the teams have been, but the stadium is not without intricacies. Holgorsen said the sidelines are tight and the fans are "right on top of you."
The stadium holds 82,112, making it the second-largest stadium in the Big 12 (Texas is the largest) and the 15th-largest in the country. A year ago, the average home attendance was 103.8 percent of the official capacity.
"It must be an Oklahoma thing - Tulsa is like that, Oklahoma State is like that and Oklahoma is like that," Holgorsen said. "The chairs are up against the wall and the people are right there with you. Is there a competitive disadvantage to it? No. It's a distraction, but tere are many distractions you have to overcome on the road and that's one distraction we have to overcome."
Holgorsen said as many as 35 Mountaineers will travel with the team for the first time in what's also WVU's first trip to the Sooners stadium since the landmark upset in 1982.
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL officiating crews grew from six to seven in 1983. Saturday's game will be the first in the Big 12 with the eighth official exclusive to the league this season. The conference agreed to add an official in the offensive backfield. The referee, who will be opposite the new official, will help facilitate the preferred rapid pace used by many Big 12 offenses.
The expected side effect is more holding calls since a new pair of eyes will be devoted to the action along the line of scrimmage.
"I hope not, unless they call it on them," Holgorsen said. "They hold a lot. We never hold."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.