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Holgorsen Likes K-State's Toughness

October 19, 2012
By JIM ELLIOTT , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

When West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen closes his eyes and thinks Kansas State football, he thinks of grittiness, toughness, and discipline.

When he thinks of his own Mountaineers, he thinks the opposite.

''They're a physical group,'' Holgorsen said of the Wildcats. ''They're extremely disciplined and it doesn't matter if it's offense, defense, special teams, their whole program is built around being tough - mentally tough, physically tough, very disciplined, and they just play with a tremendous amount of effort.

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Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (7) set the FBS record of 27 rushing rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in 2011. He and the Wildcats visit Morgantown on Saturday.

''Any coach at any level across the country could turn on the tape on all three sides of the ball and have an appreciation of how they coach their kids and how they get those kids to be very physical and very disciplined.''

In the wake of last week's disaster against Texas Tech, his ideas of the Mountaineers are distinctly different.

''We were way too hesitant,'' he said. ''When the situation got the best of us, we lost technique and we lost confidence. That has something to do with a mindset. I'm really disappointed we weren't able to bow up when we faced some adversity when we were getting down. Bottom line is we were kinda getting our butt kicked there, and we didn't have anybody bow up.''

That will have to change when the lone unbeaten team left in the Big 12 comes calling at Mountaineer Field on Saturday.

''This (WVU) group (Sunday), their sense of urgency was a lot better than it was during the game, it was a lot better than it was during the travel based on these guys getting their confidence taking a hit, kinda being a little bit embarrassed.

''I do think we'll bow up and I do think we'll play a lot harder, and I think we'll play a lot better this week.''

So does that mean the Mountaineers will turn things around in a week's time and win a game in what Holgorsen termed ''our biggest challenge of the year?''

Well ...

''That doesn't mean we're going to win because we have a really good team coming in there,'' he said.

Led by Heisman candidate quarterback Collin Klein, the Big 12's most versatile quarterback, and running back John Hubert, the Wildcats don't wow you, but they do beat you.

Cline has completed 79 of 118 passes for 1,074 yards and seven touchdowns and run 98 times for 510 yards and 10 touchdowns. He set the FBS record of 27 rushing TDs by a quarterback last season.

The K-State media relations department points out that Klein put himself in elite company last season, when he became the fourth player from a BCS AQ school to rush for 20 touchdowns and throw for at least 10 in a season (a pace he's easily on again in 2012).

The three others to do it -Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, and Eric Crouch - all won a Heisman Trophy.

Running back John Hubert rushes for 101 yards per game on the league's second-best rushing team. The Wildcats also excel at holding onto the ball -they've turned it over four times in six games - and, like so many other Big 12 teams, they are good at keeping drives going, averaging 52 percent success on third down.

There are five league teams, including West Virginia, ranked in the top 14 nationally in that category, all surviving third down more than half the time.

Other than that, the Wildcats' style of play under 72-year-old coach Bill Snyder, is the anti-Big 12.

If Baylor plays offense like its hair is on fire, Kansas State plays it like it doesn't have a care in the world.

The Wildcats bleed a play clock for all it's worth.

''That's what they do and they're really good at it,'' Holgorsen said. ''They do a great job controlling the clock.''

With all of the success Snyder has had during two different stints in Manhattan, that's not going to change, no matter what's happening in the landscape around him.

''You play within your capabilities,'' Snyder said. ''You do what it is you do. It is what it is. You don't change your structure of what you do that you've invested so many repetitions in. You go play your game, I think.''

Speaking of teams that won't change what they do, West Virginia is the same way. Holgorsen simply termed last week's offensive effort as a poor day at the offense.

And who doesn't have those?

"We'll go about it the same way we went about it the previous five games when we were successful offensively,'' he said. "I don't think there is anything wrong with what we're doing offensively. I think we had a bad game. I don't think anybody across the country in the history of football is able to put up the kind of numbers that we were on a very, very, very consistent basis. We have to find other ways to be able to have guys step up and we have to be able to win some games in other areas of the field as well, such as special teams and defense.''

It would be news if this team won a game with defense.

The Mountaineers rank 114th in the land in defense, yielding 496 yards per game.

Holgorsen said that's the Johnnys and Joes, not the Xs and Os.

''There are five teams that are running both our offense and our defense,'' Holgorsen said. ''It's not the scheme, it's the way they're playing. From a scheme standpoint I'm happy with where it is.''