Ollie Luck addresses WVU football
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Before West Virginia University's bowl game, yet after the regular season, Mountaineer athletic director Oliver Luck declined to discuss his school's football program until the season was complete.
Now, of course, it's complete. It was completed in embarrassing fashion in an embarrassing bowl game last Saturday. WVU finished 7-6, and the outlook for next season is anything but promising.
On Wednesday, though, Luck lived up to his word. While he wouldn't speak about the current moving parts in regard to the coaching staff, he did address the downturn.
WVU fans might know head coach Dana Holgorsen and, perhaps Luck, fired cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts even before the Pinstripe Bowl. Also, Keith Patterson leapfrogged Joe DeForest as the new, true defensive coordinator.
"There are still a lot of pieces in play in regard to personnel," Luck said. "Until that is all settled, I'll hold off on addressing that.
"But in terms of the year, certainly given the way we performed in the bowl game, it was disappointing."
Syracuse drubbed WVU 38-14 at a snowy, wet and muddy Yankee Stadium. Luck tipped his hat to the Orange and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, who is now being considered by NFL teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.
Then he continued.
"Overall, it was a transition year for us in the Big 12," Luck said. "Before the season I said we'd surprise some [Big 12] teams and be surprised by some teams, and that happened.
"Clearly, though, we need to do some work defensively. It's something Dana and I have talked about and I'm confident we'll get the right defensive staff together. We'll understand better what's expected in Year Two."
Having Holgorsen as the head coach, however, was expected to be a plus as the Mountaineers headed into the Big 12. Holgorsen has an extensive background within the league.
"Dana and I have had a number of conversations in what we need to do in Year Two," Luck said.
It will be interesting to see if more coaching changes are in the pipeline. One would expect not since two moves were swiftly made after the regular season. But Luck did say "a lot of pieces are in play" concerning the topic. Perhaps other assistants are leaving on their own accord.
If not, are those two moves enough to satisfy an upset and frustrated WVU fan base? Luck was asked a second time about possible moves.
"Part of [WVU's problems were] personnel, which I don't want to get into now," he said. "But I think we all understand what we did well and what we didn't do so well."
Graduate assistant Andrew McGee coached WVU's cornerbacks for the bowl game. Perhaps Holgorsen is waiting to meet with prospective assistants at the American Football Coaches Association convention, which starts Monday in Nashville.
Of all the areas in which WVU fell down this season, the most glaring was in the defensive backfield. That's somewhat shocking if you look at recent history. Currently on NFL rosters are former Mountaineer defensive backs Adam Jones and injured Robert Sands (Cincinnati), Ellis Lankster (New York Jets), Ryan Mundy (Pittsburgh) and Keith Tandy (Tampa Bay).
And finally . . .
While Luck was on the horn, I asked him about the ongoing, lengthy process regarding his school's third-tier media rights.
The word has been IMG has landed the yet-to-be-announced deal, yet the athletic director said he's "not going to confirm or deny that."
"Nothing has been announced with the holidays just passed," he said. "I think the lawyers will be back in the saddle now."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.