RIGHT NOW, DANA HOLGORSEN'S THE BEST CHOICE FOR WEST VIRGINIA
by Spencer Hall
No coach may be perfect for the job, but let it be clear: no job is perfect for the coach, or even a coach. Look at West Virginia, for instance. 38th in population, 39th by GDP, and yet somehow still playing way, way over its head in football for decades. Just run the numbers and see. This is a job for extreme overachievers, ingenious people capable of working without the gifts of built-in recruiting pipelines, huge budgets, and the lack of interference from sometimes truculent local political forces.
West Virginia is, for a lack of a better word, a difficult job. Not impossible, not unbeloved, and certainly not without what you and I might call "powerful and recognized branding," but certainly not the easiest job. Don Nehlen fought tooth and nail to win seven games consistently, and only topped double digits in wins twice in a 21 year tenure. Rich Rodriguez did it three times in seven years, but still fought the burdens of raised expectations and continued squabbling over funding for staff and facilities. Bill Stewart, was fired after three years despite never winning fewer than nine games, and he was a native son who wanted no other job on the planet.
Enter Dana Holgorsen, a coach of infinite possibilities and infinite flaws. His highs have been perilously high. (Hi, Clemson in the Orange Bowl!) His lows? Oh, they have been very, very low, including a baffling 24-23 loss to Kansas State to close out the 2015 campaign. When he's fixed the offense, the defense collapsed. When he fixed the defense, the offense collapsed. Dana Holgorsen is very obviously a contractor who is learning the art of construction on the job.
Unfortunately, West Virginia, this is your house he's working on, so it's a little easier for us to say it. We're not the ones whose bedroom suite hot tub just fell into their living room. But we're also not the ones too invested in the grudges of the present to remind you of a few things.
One: your team recently transitioned to a very difficult slot in the Big 12, a move you still haven't really geared up to properly. Two: Holgorsen could still very much be the coach you're looking for, and certainly doesn't make boring football, win or lose. Three: If you do fire Holgorsen, remember that every program has taken their swing, hired their coach, and left only malcontents in their current jobs or the largely undesirable floating around looking. (Dan Mullen? Sonny Dykes? These are both similar enough to your current coach to make you wonder why you even fired him in the first place.)
It's probably a bit late in the process to do this is what we're saying. Stay with Holgorsen. He's already got keys to everything, and who knows: he might turn around, field his first really balanced team at West Virginia, and win ten games out of nowhere next year in the Big 12. Historically speaking, if Oklahoma State can do it, anyone can.
*Sorry, Oklahoma State. We didn't mean to drag you into this mountainfolk family fight.
THIS SHIPPING CONTAINER IS EXPERIENCED, LOCAL, AND CHEAP
by Ryan Nanni
As a Big 12 member, West Virginia has become a known football entity, barely getting to bowl eligibility and occasionally scaring one of the more prominent conference powers without ever approaching contention for the crown themselves. The most Mountaineers fans can hope for under Dana Holgorsen is a fast start against a weak schedule that leads to an undeserved ranking which falls apart the minute Holgo has to face any team with talent.
Think how weird that is: Dana Holgorsen's now associated with something dull and entirely predictable. Where is the mystery? Where is the hope you get from something being unknown and, therefore, full of potential? I'll tell you where. It's in this used shipping container.
The seller emphasizes that this shipping container is watertight and has no leaks; he specifies only that he's been using it "as storage for the past few years." Where did the seller acquire this shipping container, and what was it used for before he got his hands on it? Was this container used to transport a government-created superhuman fighter who feels no pain and can snap a man's femur with his bare hands to an underground international fighting tournament that determines who controls the world's natural resources for a year? There's simply no way to know.
THAT'S mystery. Shipping Container of Unknown Background might go 2-10 this year, or he might take the Mountaineers to 11-1 and a conference title. There's no way to tell, because this shipping container doesn't come from a coaching tree and has no established tendencies to exploit. We don't know what kind of offense Shipping Container runs, and we don't know who the Shipping Container will hire as assistants. Those are huge advantages for West Virginia, because it makes them impossible to scout.
It's a risk, and I'll be the first to admit that. Shipping Container's past might have some unfortunate elements to it. Could be blood that dog's smelling. Human blood? Well, we won't know until the police come back with a warrant. Shipping Container of Unknown Background has rights, goddammit, and it pays taxes.*
The risks are worth taking if you're West Virginia. Nobody thought the guy who couldn't get the Tulane job was going to take the Mountaineers to three consecutive eleven win seasons, and Rich Rodriguez pulled it off all the same. Shipping Container's not the conventional choice for this job. But you've never been conventional, Morgantown.
*Not Federal taxes. Those are unconstitutional bullshit. Shipping Container's read the literature on this.