WVU football: Holgorsen says there are bigger issues than starting QB
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Two days after vowing to stick with his starting quarterback following a 37-0 loss against Maryland, West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen stuck with the theory it wasn't all Ford Childress' fault.
Childress, the redshirt freshman from Houston, was 11-for-22 for 62 yards and two interceptions that facilitated two Maryland touchdowns. It was his second career start after replacing Paul Millard following a 16-7 loss to Oklahoma.
"I see bigger issues," Holgorsen said Monday on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference. "Obviously, there are some things Ford can do to improve on what his performance was. When Paul was in there, there were some things he could have done to improve on his performance. The bigger issue is me.
"I've got to do a better a better job getting guys prepared to play. I've got to do a better job calling plays. I've got to do a better job on all three sides of the ball getting guys motivated and prepared to play. I didn't do a very good job of that last week, so it's got to start with me. I've got to do a better job and that's got to start this week."
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Childress completed two passes to his inside receivers Saturday. One was his first throw on the first drive and went for 12 yards to Ronald Childress. The second was his last throw on the last drive and went for 11 yards to Cody Clay.
In between, he was 0-for-7 and had an interception returned for a touchdown and an interception that set up a touchdown.
A week after saying the offense needed to get running back Charles Sims involved in the passing game, Sims caught eight passes for 33 yards. He was targeted 10 times.
"It would be nice to get the receivers the ball," Holgorsen said. "That's why they're called receivers, so they can catch the ball every now and then. We're pretty inept at that, but we're working hard.
"We've got guys that want to play. We've got guys in position. We're just not clicking. That falls 100 percent on me. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody other than me. I've got to coach better and we've got to get out and execute like we know how to do."
A year ago, Maryland's defense allowed WVU 25 yards rushing on 25 attempts and three offensive touchdowns. That 31-21 Mountaineers win was a 14-14 game in the second quarter.
Brian Stewart, in his second season at Maryland's defensive coordinator, spent the prior two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Houston, where the Cougars used the offense Holgorsen installed in 2008-09.
"You've got to give Maryland some credit," Holgorsen said. "I think that's a pretty good team that's really good on defense. They gave us fits last year when we had all those good players running around. All that experience we had and they still gave us fits last year."
Left tackle Quinton Spain is the only offensive player who started the past two games against the Terrapins.
While Holgorsen won't remove the blame he's placed on himself and place it on his players, his former boss can't help but say the roster matters.
The Mountaineers play host to No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0) at noon Saturday. The game at Mountaineer Field will be televised by ESPN.
"Personnel is a big issue," said Coach Mike Gundy. "I know that people like to look to other areas to make a difference, but we're all only as good as the players we recruit or coach. Any time there's rollover involved, particularly at the quarterback spot, that makes a difference bringing players along."
Gundy, who started three quarterbacks last season and two already this season, hired Holgorsen as his offensive coordinator in 2010. The Cowboys had Brandon Weeden as their quarterback in 2010-11.
"The schemes, the plays and the sets are very similar to what he's done in the past," Gundy said.
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WVU's Sept. 28 game at No. 19 Baylor (3-0) will be televised by Fox Sports 1. The Bears lead the nation in total offense and scoring offense.
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Oklahoma State has already played Mississippi State in Houston in a neutral site game and Texas-San Antonio in a true road game. The Cowboys also closed the 2012 regular season with back-to-back road games against Baylor and Oklahoma before traveling again for a bowl win against Purdue.
This is the school's first trip to WVU, but Gundy's third. He was a visitor in 1998 and 2000 when he was the Maryland receivers coach from 1997-2000. The Terrapins lost both road games.
"It's a difficult road trip for us," Gundy said. "You're talking about a 21/2 hour, 2 hour, 45 minute flight over. You land in Pittsburgh and you're 45 minutes away form the hotel and an hour away (from the stadium) on game day. There are challenges, but everyone in our league who has to travel over there has to deal with the same situation."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.