West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said the four-letter s-word Friday about the Miami Hurricanes.
But he couldn’t have been more complimentary.
Holgorsen, whose Mountaineers (10-2) will face Mark Richt’s Miami Hurricanes (8-4) on Dec. 28 in the Russell Athletic Bowl, was asked if UM’s four-game losing streak (Florida State, North Carolina, at North Carolina, at Notre Dame) cushioned smack in the middle of eight victories was from scheduling or lack of execution.
“Yeah probably schedule more than anything,’’ Holgorsen said. “Virginia Tech played really well in that game, but other than that, those other three, it could have went either way. You’re talking about a missed extra point vs. Florida State.
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“… Everyone is sitting there saying how excited we are about 10-2. Well, there were four games that were decided by less than a field goal.’’
Actually WVU’s win against BYU was by three points, its win against Kansas State was by one point, its win at Texas was by four points and its regular-season finale against Baylor was by three.
“Like I said, they could be sitting at 11-1 and then they would be in the College Football Playoff and everyone’s tune would be a little bit different,’’ Holgorsen said. “Don’t look at this team and say well, s---, they’re just 8-4, right?
“I mean good God, it’s Miami and they could have been 11-1, so that’s the way we’re looking at it. I can assure you that. I won’t swear anymore, so I apologize for that. Started to get fired up there.’’
Holgorsen went on to laud several Miami players, including tight end David Njoku, whom he called “the biggest and baddest dude that we’ve faced all year.’’
Richt said after bowl practice Saturday that the Canes “need great receivers’’ in recruiting.
“We need guys who can make plays,” he said. “We need guys that have the skill set that we need to get off the jam and catch the ball in traffic and, hopefully, enough top-end speed to scare people to back off you on certain routes. We’ve got to have enough speed on the edges, for sure.
“We have some guys that are pretty good possession-type guys. But we need more guys who can really run.’’
UM is losing seniors Malcolm Lewis and Stacy Coley. Coley, who has 703 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, will likely be drafted. And redshirt sophomore Njoku is expected to turn pro after the bowl game.
Njoku’s younger brother, Evidence, is the only wide receiver committed to UM’s recruiting Class of 2017. This past week, former Canes wide receiver commit Kevaughn Dingle decommitted “due to lack of communication,’’ he tweeted, from the Miami staff.
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was asked about his comments he made recently about his players not getting the credit they deserved in the media’s All-ACC voting.
Instead of elaborating about that, Diaz turned the concept inside-out, saying that coaches have “reviewed some of our film throughout the month of December, and I think what we have found out is that we still have so much room for improvement. We can be so much better, and really one of the big places is in productivity.”
“We’ve put together quite a long tape of missed opportunities on creating turnovers, missed opportunities on creating sacks, and those things are going to be very important as we go into this game against a very good offensive football team,” he said. “We’ve done what is required to keep the score down, but we can still do so much more to help secure the victory.’’