MORGANTOWN-While Dana Holgorsen's No. 13 Mountaineers (5-1, 1-0 Big East) won't be playing again until West Virginia University travels to Syracuse for an 8 p.m. game on Friday, Oct. 21, that doesn't mean the next week won't be just as busy for WVU's 33rd head coach.
"Our (the coaches') week is going to be a busy one," explained Holgorsen during Monday's Big East teleconference. "This week is all about going to school and doing a little bit of recruiting."
As well as taking time to study the Mountaineers' next opponent-Syracuse.
West Virginia defenders swarm on Connecticut quarterback Johnny McEntee (18) for a safety Saturday in Morgantown.
"We don't need any more motivation that we have," Holgorsen said. "The excitement here is real high. If we need more, all we have to bring up is the fact that they beat us in Morgantown last year."
Syracuse (4-2, 0-1 Big East) is coming off of a 37-34 non-conference win over Tulane and ended an eight-year losing streak to the old gold and blue with a 19-14 decision at Milan Puskar Stadium. Prior to that losing streak, the Orange had captured five of six meetings with their Big East rivals-four coming in the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome.
"I'd rather play,'' Holgorsen said. "Games are a whole lot more fun than practice or spending time sending nine or 10 coaches out on the road recruiting. The realities of our job are, due to the season being so long, there's going to be off weeks, and you've got to learn to handle them. I feel like we've got a good plan.
"It comes at a good time. We're relatively healthy right now, but the morale is high, which gets everybody doing their job when it comes to school and maintaining lifting and timing in practice, and getting out on the road recruiting will obviously do us some good."
WVU's newest head coach also took time to reflect on the Mountaineers' 43-16 win over Connecticut.
"It was a good team win. You don't ever take wins lightly. When you do, they can come back to bite you. They (Connecticut) came out and matched us play for play in the first half."
Two areas that drew particular praise from Holgorsen were the play of the defense and special teams-especially former Parkersburg South standout Michael Molinari.
"When you put together a second half like (the defense) did, it makes the first half almost look like a disaster," said the coach. "It was just a dominating performance by Coach (Jeff) Casteel and those guys."
After surrendering nine points and 178 yards in the first half of action, WVU's 3-3-5 stack stiffened, allowing the Huskies to maintain control of the football for no more than six plays on its next 11 possessions and on five of those held the Huskies without a single yard.
Making life even more miserable for the visitors was Molinari, who was making his first start as the Mountaineers' punter, as three of his five punts pinned the visitors inside of their 20-yard line. His second boot was a perfectly angled pooch kick that landed out of bounds at the UConn 2.
"He (Molinari) is just young," said the coach. "Corey (Smith) had some problems and we replaced him. We were proud by the way he got in there and got the job done."
Now, the question is can Holgorsen and his Mountaineers get the job done on the road as four of their remaining six contests will be played away from Mountaineer Field.
"It's just reality (playing on the road)," explained Holgorsen. "Every team has to do it. Every team has to learn how to travel. Our goal from the beginning has been to win the Big East championship.
"We are happy to be at 5-1 and 1-0 in conference. Like everyone, we'd like to be undefeated, but we put up a decent fight against the No.. 1 team in the country and learned a lot from it. I'm happy with where we are. The morale on the team is high, the excitement is high and we are showing improvement each week."