MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia has the unusual occasion this week to wait seven days to play its next football game after waiting seven months to play the season opener.
The No. 11 Mountaineers began the season with a 69-34 home victory over Marshall in the final Friends of Coal Bowl, but are off this week and play Football Championship Subdivision No. 5 James Madison on Sept. 15 at FedEx Field, in Landover, Md.
"I don't think it's ideal," WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference. Two days earlier, he started his postgame press conference by saying "we've got a whole lot to work on, obviously."
That's all the Mountaineers have this week.
"You're going to have a couple weeks off, regardless of where you put them, where you have to make some corrections by playing against each other," said Holgorsen, who doesn't like scrimmaging in practice. "I think it's a little easier to make corrections when you're playing somebody else. But there's nothing we can do with the off week except look at the things we need to look at and improve them."
Though pleased with the execution on offense and the way his offensive line blocked, Holgorsen highlighted two fumbles by the offense that the Mountaineers were fortunate to recover, plus the failed fourth-and-goal run by quarterback Geno Smith.
He said the defense missed too many tackles, but also came up short in important spots.
"We gave up way too many third downs and I think we had 22 critical downs and we were only successful on nine of them," he said. "They did play hard and fast, but obviously there are some things we've got to do better."
The special teams list was long, too. WVU had a punt blocked, missed an extra point and saw a number of snaps go off target.
Holgorsen said WVU didn't block well enough on punt and kickoff returns, though Tavon Austin did have a 35-yard kickoff return.
The Mountaineers don't use many starters or regulars on special teams. With a thick blend of young and first-time players in key spots, and especially on defense, WVU had to use many inexperienced players on special teams.
That led to some errors and Holgorsen said the coaching staff will look at the personnel on special teams during the off week, but also throughout the season.
"We always try to replace people and move people to different spots and try to get guys to where they can help the team," Holgorsen said. "There were a lot of people who played a lot of different spots in that game. We will continue to evaluate it and continue to work with guys to try to get as many of those people in the right spots as we can.