Just when we hadn't heard from him in a while, Dana Holgorsen made sure we didn't forget about him. In the latest piece of news regarding the new West Virginia coach, Holgorsen took fans to task for not coming out in droves for Bowling Green. There's lots to digest here, so let's take a look.
First, if you haven't listened to the audio, do yourself a favor and do that first. It's amazing how much Holgorsen goes on and on about it, not backtracking at all.
Okay, so what did he have to say? Well for starters, he couldn't understand why the weather would have anything to do with keeping people at home:
"You came into last week, where you've got all kinds of excuses not to play well. Like, had to cancel the Mantrip, we had bad weather, it was cold. It was wet," he said. "The environment was terrible. It was relatively early -- maybe you didn't respect your opponent. No matter what the excuses were, our players didn't buy into it. But obviously our fan base did. So whatever our expectations are with our players as far as preparing every week and going to the game and playing their best, I highly encourage our students and our support to take the same approach. You only get seven opportunities a year.
I'm kind of torn on this. I can understand not wanting to sit outside in the rain to watch a terrible team. Personally, I rarely get to every game each year. I don't think it makes me any less of a fan, but sometimes I find it's simply not worth it to make the commute into town, battle for parking, and then deal with a long walk to the stadium - especially for a noon kickoff. When you add in the fact of playing against a lackluster opponent on a miserable day, it gives people plenty of reasons to stay home.
I get what he's saying, but it's like anything else. Do you want to go to the beach on a crappy day? Or to a concert, etc.? To me, football isn't much different.
Yeah, I get it. 'Dude, but it's football.' Well, okay - fine. But I still don't want to sit outside for three hours and be miserable. Want to take away my fan card? Please. For the past 15 years, I've caught the majority every football and basketball game either in-person or on TV. And the ones I missed, I've caught on the radio, followed online, or caught the results afterwards.
Sorry, but missing a game against Bowling Green in the rain doesn't mean you're not doing your job as a fan.
That said, the whole 'seven opportunities' a year thing? Totally get it.
Holgorsen went on...
What's so hard about it? Is it too cold? It wasn't too cold for our players. It wasn't too cold for our coaches or managers or trainers. They were out there. So why did we have 20,000 people less at this one than we did last week?
This is where things got a little crazy. The players were out there because they have something we like to call a scholarship. The walk-ons? They're a part of the team. The coaches, managers, and trainers? Dude, It's their job. Comparing the situations of fans to that of those people that make up the team is just short of insanity.
Then, there was the talk about elite programs:
"The funny part about it, we're all talking two weeks ago about how much difference the crowd's going to make to the LSU people. Well, LSU played well in front of 62,000 of our people and then turned around and went home and played a 1-4 Kentucky team at noon and had 95,000 people there. You want to talk about an elite program, that's one. I don't know about this place."
Yeah, I get that, but elite programs are few and far between. There aren't many atmospheres that will produce that kind of turnout on a regular basis.
The other thing of note is that, as Andrea Adelson points out, West Virginia has the best attendance in the Big East (insert appropriately timed Big East joke here). Holgorsen's going all Holgorsen because that's not good enough. 55,000+ this year with conference play not even having started yet isn't all that bad. I've got no problem with Holgorsen wanting fans to step it up a bit, but it just seems a bit ill-timed to me, that's all. There are worse things than drawing 45K for Bowling Green and Holgorsen probably would have been better served by saying something to the effect of 'We're grateful for our fans and we hope that more turn out this weekend.'
This type of stuff really hits home with all the talk we've had recently about attendance at Pitt. I've tried to explain this before, but Pitt is a different animal from West Virginia or most other college towns for that matter. But sticking with Holgorsen ... man, I don't see how this helps him at all.
What does he think will happen? Does he expect fans to now show up en masse and say, 'You're right, Dana - our bad?' Chances are slim that a considerable amount of people would take that stance. So other than the status quo, the final outcome is that he alienates some people. That probably won't happen to the ones that are already on his side, rather the group of West Virginians that were tired of his act from the start.
How's this play out? It's probably going to be a blip on the radar. Win and things will be fine. Lose, however, and this type of stuff will come back to haunt him.