"That's one of the things that I've been trying to get through to them all year," Holgorsen said. "It doesn't matter if you're on the scout team or a second-teamer, third-teamer, whether you're a receiver or a running back, safety, linebacker or whatever you are, you have to give effort. Some of those second-teamers didn't do anything to help the team, so we had other guys step up, which was critical."
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OF THE 14 penalties committed by WVU Saturday - two shy of the school record and the most in a Big East game this season - three were holding penalties against the offensive line. A fourth was declined.
"The holding calls are just bad technique," Holgorsen said. "There's not a difference between having bad technique and getting beat. It's the same thing. It's technique. If you're getting whipped, then your only chance is to play with 100 percent proper technique. We were getting whipped and we lost our technique."
It's generally agreed among offensive linemen that holding could be called on every play - and if not against an offensive lineman, than against a defensive lineman. Things get tricky in trying to understand when and how the penalties will be called.
"If it's really a blatant hold, it's usually because of bad technique on us," right guard Tyler Rader said. "The other thing is that officials look for different things. I think that's what makes holding penalties so unclear."
Rader said the requirements for holding can differ from game to game and crew to crew. It's up to the players to get a feel for the game and what is and isn't allowed, which was where he said WVU struggled against Cincinnati.
"Early in the game if I have a question, I'll ask, 'My hands are inside, right?' They'll say, 'Yeah, but watch this,' or, 'Get your hands inside more here,' " Rader said. "At the beginning of the game they usually give you a heads up for what they're looking for and what they'll start to call later in the game."
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WVU ALSO had two delay of game penalties on punts. On another, WVU couldn't punt before the officials called a timeout to review a play. They overturned a call on the field and ruled running back Dustin Garrison fumbled, which gave Cincinnati the ball at its 48-yard line.
That sent quarterback Geno Smith storming off the sideline as he barked at the punt team.
Holgorsen said it was a communication problem and accepted the blame. He explained a lot goes on between in the time between the end of the third down play and the punt, including communication between coaches and then players.
The Mountaineers have to decide if they want to go for it, punt it or fake it. If they punt, they have to get the personnel on the field and tell those players what the plan is.
"Sometimes we try to make a decision, get them out there, and we're too late. That's 100 percent on me," Holgorsen said. "We'll make sure that we get that tightened up. There have been a couple of times that we've done it on purpose. You don't want to rush out there and make a bad decision. You don't want to rush it to the point that you don't execute it properly.
"Some of it's making decisions, some of it's communication, some of it's our headset not being on at the right time, or the button not being pushed properly. There are all kinds of dynamics. I'm not searching for excuses, and I'm actually kind of upset with myself for talking about them. Ultimately, it's on me, and we'll get it fixed."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142.