WVU notebook: This dome should be warmer, Coach
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Dana Holgorsen nearly froze the last time coached a football game in a dome.
That's not likely to be a problem tonight in Syracuse.
West Virginia plays Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, a 49,000-seat enclosed stadium that, despite being named for a company that makes air conditioners, has no air conditioning. Even when the temperature outside is cool, it can get very hot inside once 40,000 people come through.
"Really?'' Holgorsen said when told that there is no Carrier AC system in the Carrier Dome. "Well, at least it won't get cold.''
That was just the problem the last time Holgorsen coached in a dome. That was the Superdome in New Orleans in a game against Tulane, when Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator at Houston.
"It was about 25 or 30 degrees inside because they had the air conditioner set at 20 degrees because the Saints and Cowboys were playing the next day,'' Holgorsen said. "They tried to get it as cold as they possibly could so when they put all the people in there it wouldn't be so hot. But for that game there were about 500 people there.''
Another issue Holgorsen isn't used to is the timing of tonight's game.
Yes, he has coached in night games before. He's played them on the road and he's played them before and since he arrived at West Virginia.
He's never played one on the road and on a weekday as a head coach, though. So, as the week wore on, he was still trying to figure out what to do with his players all day today.
"Everybody plays at night at times, but during a day that there's no football going on, that presents a few more obstacles,'' Holgorsen said. "I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do from 12 to 4 p.m. You don't just want to take naps.''
Chances are, the players - who chartered to Syracuse Thursday - will be allowed to sleep in today, and there will be meetings and such to keep them interested. After about 4 p.m. it just becomes another game-day routine.
"But you don't want them laying around in a bed for 20 hours,'' Holgorsen said. "We'll figure that out.''
Holgorsen was talking earlier this week about linebacker Doug Rigg, who is expected to play after missing two games with a broken bone in his wrist.
Rigg isn't just automatically assured a spot in the lineup.
"Now his job is to play better than the guys in front of him,'' Holgorsen said. "Do you lose your starting job to an injury? It depends on how you play once you get back. We're going to play the guys that are playing the best. Whether it's because of an injury or because of performance or because someone got better and beat you out, whatever it is, we're going to hold you accountable for your actions.''
In a similar vein, Holgorsen and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh have given Quinton Spain every chance to earn his way into the lineup, playing him at both tackle and guard in recent weeks. He played for right tackle Pat Eger in part of the game against Connecticut two weeks ago, but Holgorsen said Eger will likely still be the starter tonight.
"We put Spain in because we didn't think that Eger was playing very well. Eger came back and has done a little bit better, so we'll probably start him,'' Holgorsen said. "If one of those guys is not playing up to par, then we'll put Quinton Spain in there.
"He could go at right guard or right tackle. We'll keep him on the right side, because that's where he's been practicing since camp started. We could possibly move him to left tackle, and he's played at left guard, but that's not fair to do to a young kid. We'll do what we have to, to get the best players out there.''
Holgorsen was asked earlier this week about discipline. For example, if a player is late for a meeting, what's the punishment?
He hedged a bit and smiled some.
"If you have a good reason and call ahead of time, it's fine,'' he said. "If they're coming late from a class, we'll make it work.''
He hedged because he was late himself to a Sunday meeting after spending time on the road recruiting.
"We had technical difficulties on an airplane from Chicago, so it wasn't my fault,'' he said. "We left with a wide margin for error, and I was late by 30 seconds."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.