MORGANTOWN - After being shut out for the first time since 2001, Dana Holgorsen knew people would want to start pointing fingers.
Well, the West Virginia coach has a direction for all those fingers to go. Right at him.
''There's plenty of blame to go around,'' he said. ''The one who can be blamed more than anybody is me. That's for dang sure. That's not an acceptable performance. You've got to give Maryland some credit. I think they're a pretty good team. I think they're really good on defense. With that said, I've got to do a better job of coaching them. We've got to get guys in position to be able to execute what we're asking them to do. That's not happening very much. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody but myself.
''I just have to do a better job. If I do a better job than the rest of the guys will do a better job as well.''
So, how does Holgorsen plan on doing a better job?
''I have to change my mentality if they are going to change their mentality,'' he said. ''I'm going to expect good things to happen, I'm going to be excited about going to practice. I'm going to go out and not be worried about calling the perfect play. If you sit there and worry about calling a different play, then you are going to call a bad one. That mentality needs to go away.
''We need to relax, and we need to expect good things to happen, because right now offensively that is not going to happen. We practice staying motivated, but we were not the most excited team to play Saturday. Were we prepared to play? Not as well as Maryland. All that stuff falls on me. I need to get us better prepared and more excited about playing. We went over to Maryland and played a team (that) was excited to play. They played with more excitement, and with more passion than our guys did. When that happens, that's on me.''
Holgorsen may change his mentality about certain things, but one thing he insists is not going to change is his offensive scheme.
''Our offensive philosophy has remained the same for about 15 years,'' he said. ''I doubt it's going to change any more than it has. There's always an evolution of what you're trying to get accomplished. We have spent a lot of time with the run game. We'll continue to do so. Our yards per play in the run game (5.2) is not bad. It can always improve, but it's not bad. I think the bigger problem is what we're doing offensively. We're not executing the passing game like we should. I've been saying that since Day 1. It's still a work in progress.''
There's no question tempo is the name of the game when it comes to college football, especially in the Big 12.
The Mountaineers defense knows all too well that it have its hands full Saturday defending against Oklahoma State's offensive tempo.
''They push tempo so conditioning is big,'' linebacker Jared Barber said. ''We need to get to the sideline as soon as the play is over. They have good skill guys even though I think Maryland was better up front. They do not have as many skill players as Maryland, I will say that. Tempo is definitely going to be the difference.''
Added defensive coordinator Keith Patterson: ''They try to get around 20 seconds for each play. We have a definitive plan on how we want to disrupt tempo. A lot of it is creating negative-yardage plays. We have to try to match the tempo from a defensive standpoint.''
Tony Viola can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com