MORGANTOWN - Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while wondering if Charlie Weis meant to diss Dana Holgorsen and his staff or it just came off that way. Oh, and vice versa:The guess here is that both knew what they were saying. And you've got to get a chuckle out of it, right?To set the scene, Holgorsen seemed to go out of his way to pump up Weis and his Kansas coaching staff Monday. You've got to wonder about the underlying sarcasm there."They're going to coach them up. We're going to be at a major schematic disadvantage going against their coaches,'' the West Virginia coach said. "They've got coaches with tremendous pedigree that have coached everybody in the world and coached for decades and decades . . . Our coaches are going to be challenged this week to be able to match what we're going to go against.''Well, maybe not the whole staff, but Weis won Super Bowls as Bill Belichick's offensive coordinator in New England and defensive coordinatorDave Campo won on the same stage as the defensive coordinator in Dallas, where he later was the head coach.Yeah, there's some experience there.Of course, all of that is just coachspeak. And maybe this is, too, but it sure was funny.
Weis was talking about the challenge of stopping West Virginia's Tavon Austin, which his defense will try to do Saturday when the teams meet at Mountaineer Field. He referred to Austin's performance last week at Iowa State, where he returned a punt for a touchdown that was called back for a holding penalty, but then scored the winning touchdown later on offense."Just take two plays from last week. Take the punt return and the little pass in the flat on the left side where everyone has angles on him and he just outruns everyone,'' Weis said. "That's not coaching now. I'm sure everyone would like to sit there and stand in line and take credit for that, but that's just unusual talent and unusual speed.''Touche.nn
Speaking of Weis, he was also asked Monday about Notre Dame's success. The Fighting Irish are locked into the national championship game after going 12-0.And they did it in part with a bunch of players Weis recruited. The fourth- and fifth-year players on Notre Dame's roster arrived at the end of Weis' five-year tenure there as the head coach. That includes Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te'o. In all, there are 11 senior starters for the Irish, most of whom were recruited by Weis."I think the most important thing for me is I stay low profile and don't try to take accolades for their success,'' Weis said. "I think it's really easy for a guy in my position to sit there and say, 'Yeah, they're all my kids that they're winning with,' or be jealous and bitter and all that other stuff.''
Well, too, the fact is that it's not like Weis didn't have ample opportunity at Notre Dame. By the time he was fired, every player on the roster was recruited by him and his staff and his last three teams went 3-9, 6-6 and 6-6."It's important for me to understand it's their team, not my team,'' Weis said. "I have to worry about Kansas. But there are a lot of young men that are having a lot of success this year that I'm very, very happy for.''nn
And finally, West Virginia's bowl options seem plentiful, which is another of the perks of being in the Big 12. Consider that a 7-5 or 6-6 team in the Big East plays in the BBVA Compass Bowl or somewhere like that, while a 6-5 WVU team with a game to play has a chance to spend Christmas in San Diego at the Holiday Bowl.Of course, it could be Christmas at the Pinstripe Bowl in cold New York, too, but we won't think about that for now. Until Kansas State and Oklahoma play out the season and the Big 12 finds out if it has one or two teams in the BCS, it's largely speculative.And so Holgorsen isn't speculating.
"Bowl games are bowl games. There's all kinds of good bowl games out there,'' Holgorsen said. "I haven't concerned myself with it. I haven't talked to the team about it at all."Becoming bowl eligible is a big step and then after that, what bowl game you go to is going to be fantastic no matter where you go.''Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1