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Sporting News: Rather than run from high expectations, WVU’s Dana Holgorsen embraces them

Sporting News: Rather than run from high expectations, WVU’s Dana Holgorsen embraces them

While many college football coaches tend to avoid talking about preseason expectations for their teams, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has a different approach.

Holgorsen, entering his eighth year in Morgantown, isn’t afraid to embrace those expectations ahead of an intriguing year in the Big 12 Conference.

“I mean, you want people to be talking about you,” Holgorsen told Sporting News on Wednesday. “That means you’ve got something to talk about. There’s been a couple of years here since we’ve been in the Big 12, which is going on our seventh year, there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about because we weren’t ready for that caliber of football. And so we welcome that.”

If any team is equipped to challenge Oklahoma’s three-year reign atop the Big 12, it’s the Mountaineers. They have the league’s most experienced and accomplished quarterback in Will Grier, a pair of dangerous receivers in David Sills and Gary Jennings and some promising newcomers. They also have a fully loaded offensive line, and, finally, some defensive help that Big 12 offenses must account for.

Of course, Holgorsen knows promise and talent can only achieve so much.

He can look back to the 2016 season, when his Mountaineers started the season 6-0 before losing to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to miss a potential Big 12 title. He can look to last year, when Grier suffered a broken finger at Texas, causing WVU’s offense to crater in three straight losses to end the season.

But if WVU can navigate a treacherous nonconference schedule that includes Tennessee in Charlotte and at N.C. State two weeks later, Holgorsen’s eighth season with the Mountaineers could be a memorable one.

“The expectations are to win around here,” Holgorsen said. “We are the 12th-winningest program of all time, so our fan base and our administration expects us to compete.

“The other thing is, if you look back at our last three years, going into the Big 12 six years ago, I just didn’t feel like we were ready. We had some top-end talent, but we weren’t ready to compete.”

To read the rest of John Hoover’s report at Sporting News, click here.

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Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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