MORGANTOWN — There was a lot to talk about after Virginia Tech beat West Virginia on Sunday night, 31-24, but what went unspoken is now out in the open.
Dana Holgorsen didn’t like the officiating one bit and went to so far as to say in his Tuesday press conference “that, to me, was the biggest deal in the game.”
Holgorsen had been asked about being hit with a crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, something the coaches had been warned about as a point of emphasis for the offiials this year.
In fact, when Walt Anderson, head of Big 12 officials, spoke about why the rule was being enforced so stringently this year he used as an example a video of Holgorsen going off on one of his sideline rants.
Normally, coaches avoid talking about officiating, so Holgorsen was asked about just that rule and its enforcement. He took that handoff and ran with it.
“I’d really like to sit here and talk about officials and I can if I want to,” he said. “It’s based on who they are. They’re not associated with our conference.”
WVU was hit with nine penalties in the game.
“They declined like four penalties. I don’t agree with a lot of what happened. I thought you had to argue. Evidently not,” he said.
So what happened on his unsportsmanlike call?
“How many officials are there? Eight? Any of the eight can throw the flag. I wasn’t even arguing the call but I stepped out of the box. I stepped out of the box and did one of these deals,” he said, making a gesture.
“Three of them looked at me and didn’t do anything and one guy that was all the way down there came running in and threw it at me. I don’t know what his problem is, but evidently I did something to tee him off. He can throw it if he wants.”
The thing was, it came just a couple of plays after Holgorsen had angrily disputed a late out of bounds hit on a kickoff return by Virginia Tech, giving them 10 more yards on the end of the run.
“They encourage communication. Coaches encourage communication. Officials encourage communication. So, I was communicating on why I didn’t think (freshman safety) Kenny (Robinson) should be called for that personal foul,” Holgorsen said. “Because it’s loud, there’s 80,000 people there and the guy steps out of bounds by this much (he held his hands inches apart) – because I’m looking at it right here – and he continues to run down the sidelines.
“So what am I supposed to tell the safety? Just let him go score? So he hit him and I didn’t agree with that, so I was just like, “Look, what do you want me to tell him?” He’s like, “You can’t hit him out of bounds.” He’s tip-toeing down the sidelines, what do you want me to tell him? He says, ‘You can’t hit him out of bounds.’
“I said, ‘Yeah, I know, I tell them that all the time. If they’re out of bounds then don’t hit them.’ So, that was the communication that was going on.”
Holgorsen said there was no warning.
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West Virginia gets a boost to its receiver corps this week for the East Carolina home opener as Marcus Simms is “ready to roll” in the words of Holgorsen.
Simms was suspended for the Virginia Tech game after he was stopped in Morgantown and admitted to smoking marijuana and charged with driving on a revoked driver’s license, the result of an arrest two months earlier in Maryland on a DUI charge.
Simms had not informed WVU officials of the Maryland arrest.
This week all four of the charges against Simms in Maryland were dropped by the district attorney. He still has a court date in Morgantown pending but Holgorsen saw no reason to extend the suspension.
Simms is being counted upon to add speed to what already is an accomplished but lacking depth receiving corps. Gary Jennings was a star in the opening loss to Virginia Tech with 13 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown, and David Sills V caught nine passes from Will Grier for 96 yards and two scores.
“He helps. He has that speed factor,” Holgorsen said of Simms. “We played (freshman wide receiver) Reggie (Roberson Jr.) about 30 snaps; he got targeted I think twice. The more he plays, the more (redshirt junior quarterback) Will (Grier) will feel comfortable targeting him.
“Reggie gives us a speed guy and then Marcus gives us a speed guy that we desperately need at both those wide out positions. We feel good with (junior wide receiver) David (Sills V), we feel good with (redshirt senior wide receiver) Ka’Raun (White) playing outside. We have to have the next guy in there that can stretch it and those guys can do that.”
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Ka’Raun White also made the game’s most spectacular catch, a diving grab deep downfield, and gives White yet another serious target, but he missed a lot of work with the new quarterback in the summer due to injury and the two are still getting acquainted in their timing.
While there was a lot of cramping going on with players on both sides, Ka’Raun White just kept after it.
“He came out for one play,” Carrier said.
And he was mad at Carrier for that, but Carrier had to expect that, for he had previously noted that he when played he argued with the coach any time he took him out of a game … and that coach was Holgorsen.
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WVU says Grier’s 371 passing yards were the most all-time of any school quarterback playing his first game.
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Fans attending the WVU-East Carolina opener and all future home games are reminded of the school’s new clear bag policy. To bring things into the stadium they must be in a clear bag (a baggie is all right) to make searching them easier and cut down on delays.
Fans will also be allowed to carry in a clutch purse, which will be looked into.
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With NFL rosters cut down to 53, here’s an impressive list of Mountaineers who are in the NFL this season.
WR Tavon Austin, Los Angeles Rams; OL Don Barclay, Green Bay Packers; WR Terence Garvin and OL Mark Glowinski, Seattle Seahawks; DB Pac Man Jones, Cincinnati Bengals; DB Karl Joseph and DE Bruce Irvin, Oakland Raiders;, RB Charles Sims and DB Keith Tandy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; QB Geno Smith and LB J.T. Thomas, New York Giants; OL Quinton Spain, Tennessee Titans; DB Daryl Worley, Carolina Panthers; WR Kevin White and LB Nick Kwiatkoski, Chicago Bears … and from NFL WVU — better known as the Philadelphia Eagles — DB Rasul Douglas, WR Shelton Gibson, LB Najee Goode and RB Wendell Smallwood.
In addition, on practice squads are WR Daikiel Shorts, Buffalo Bills; OL Adam Pankey, Green Bay Packers and DL Noble Nwachukwu, San Francisco 49ers.
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