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September 3, 2012
After reviewing the tape of No. 11 West Virginia's 69-34 victory over Marshall Saturday, head coach Dana Holgorsen saw some things that stood out for the good and bad as the Mountaineers enter a bye week to work on correcting those issues.
On the plus side, the Mountaineers were very physical in the contest and blocked well up front, Holgorsen said during the Big 12 Coaches Media Teleconference Monday. But on the flip side, the offense put the ball on the ground twice and had a missed opportunity in the red zone.
Defensively the Mountaineers missed too many tackles in the game which the headman admitted is always a concern early in the season, but Holgorsen was pleased with the effort and speed the group brought to the field.
"But we've got to tackle better," he said.
Holgorsen defended the staff's choice of Shawne Alston as the offensive champion over quarterback Geno Smith, who was awarded Walter Camp National Player of the Week honors.
"Shawne played his best game since he's been here," Holgorsen said also saying that Smith, senior guard Jeff Braun and other offensive lineman were viable candidates.
Alston recorded 65-yards after contact in the game against Marshall, running very physically and often bull-dozing Marshall defenders. It was the success that Alston had early that led the coaching staff to continue to give him the football, Holgorsen said.
"It starts up front. The five guys up front blocked tremendously in the run game and the pass game," he said.
Holgorsen said that Smith has done a tremendous job taking care of the football over the past eight quarters of football he's played.
West Virginia (1-0, 0-0) will now enter an unusual early season off-week before traveling to Washington, D.C. to play James Madison at Fed-Ex Field. The off-week isn't ideal, but the Mountaineers will have time to correct some of the issues that popped up on tape, although it is easier to do in a game setting.
Special teams is another area that needs improvement especially in timing with the PAT/field goal units and better blocking.
"We're going to have to make corrections playing against each other," he said.
Ryan Nehlen was awarded the special teams champion due to his blocking on the return units, Holgorsen said.