This week signifies the start of a new chapter in the spirited Maryland-West Virginia rivalry: the first meeting between coaches Randy Edsall and Dana Holgorsen.
The Mountaineers have won five straight in the series, but this matchup figures difficult to predict. West Virginia enters as the ranked team but showed some flaws in its first two games. Maryland gets an extra week to prepare after edging a depleted Miami team in its first game.
Some Mountaineers fans apparently were a little irritated that I referred to WVU as a work in progress. I predicted that WVU would win the Big East, but it’s the truth: The Mountaineers have not played great yet. So here is the same sentiment from Holgorsen.
“It is a work in progress,” the first-year coach Holgorsen said in Monday’s Big East coaches’ teleconference. “I didn’t have any idea where we were going to be. If we are hitting our stride this time of year, we’d either be a very experienced team or we’d regress a little [later in the season]. It’s not surprising where we are.”
WVU trailed Norfolk State at halftime Saturday before rattling off 45 straight points in the second half. Holgorsen said his team was not “ready to play” in the first half and that some of the early struggles can be attributed to “not respecting the opponent a little bit.”
Holgorsen said he has never met Edsall but that he has a lot of respect for what Edsall accomplished at Connecticut.
“I’ve got a ton of respect for [Edsall],” Holgorsen said. “I don’t know him. Looking at the bio and what he has done, it’s all about being very disciplined. It doesn’t matter what your schemes are about, it’s about being disciplined. They preach about playing smart. They are going to be real good at turnover margin and not being penalized.”
Holgorsen said his team has not started off well in its first two games. That has to change Saturday, he said, because his team will be facing a hostile road environment and a capable, quick-strike offense.
“When you are on the road, you have to start fast,” Holgorsen said. “It’s hard to get the home crowd out of it. Starting fast is about the only chance you got.”
Edsall addresses reporters in a few hours at Gossett Team House.