CHARLESTON - West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has some news for people who admire the numbers the Mountaineers are putting up on offense so far.
West Virginia isn't playing its best - yet.
"I don't think we're very good right now, to be honest with you," Holgorsen said. "You can take it for what it's worth, but that's where we are."
Sure, West Virginia scored 33 unanswered points two weeks ago against Connecticut and piled up 643 yards against Bowling Green the week before that. And the Mountaineers are finding different ways to win, from the arm of Geno Smith to the running of freshman Dustin Garrison.
There's also been times where there has been little production and that has had Holgorsen scratching his head. He hopes there won't be any of those when No. 11 West Virginia (5-1, 1-0 Big East) plays at Syracuse (4-2, 0-1) on Friday night.
Holgorsen said West Virginia squandered too many offensive opportunities in the first half against Connecticut. The Mountaineers led 10-9 at halftime before going on to a 43-16 victory.
He also is concerned Smith tries too hard at times, so they worked during the off week to fix that.
"He doesn't need to take over the game," Holgorsen said. "He just needs to play within the system. He needs to play within himself and trust the coaches and trust guys around him."
Any worries about lost timing were cast aside during the first practice this week, when Smith completed 94 percent of his passes.
"It looks to me the timing is pretty doggone good," Holgorsen said.
West Virginia will be playing only its second road game of the season, having won at Maryland a month ago.
It will be the first trip to the Carrier Dome for Holgorsen, the Mountaineers' first-year coach. And it will be the second stop on West Virginia's payback mission. It avenged last year's loss to Connecticut which cost the Mountaineers a Bowl Championship Series berth.
Now West Virginia goes after Syracuse, which beat the Mountaineers 19-14 in Morgantown in 2010.
"I think our morale's real high," Holgorsen said. "Guys are having a good time playing ball. Then you throw in the equation that Syracuse outplayed West Virginia last year and played with a little more energy and a little more excitement for four quarters, it should give our guys some motivation to play."
Holgorsen and his coaching staff spent part of the off week recruiting. He said the staff does get questions from potential recruits about the ongoing uncertainty concerning the Big East, conference realignment and West Virginia's affiliation.
"It's been brought up from a couple of guys," he said. "You call these prospects once a week and you get questions. That's just a typical thing in recruiting. There's always questions surrounding facilities, academics, future schedules, conferences, win-loss record.
"It's a situation where you've got to explain to them the realities of college football. Whatever might be said or done here in the last couple of months or the next couple of months is going to look completely different in the next couple of years. The best thing is to choose your school based on what the actual product is. At West Virginia, we feel the product's good."