West Virginia missed a bowl game for the first time in more than a dozen years in 2013, though they weren't as far away from late December/early January paydirt as their 4-8 final record indicated.
The Mountaineers lost to Texas Tech 37-27 after holding a 27-23 lead entering the fourth quarter, fell to Texas 47-40 in overtime after taking a 40-37 lead into the game's final minute, and blew a 38-21 fourth quarter lead in the season finale versus Iowa State, collapsing into a 52-44 triple-overtime loss. Swing those games around, and West Virginia is 7-5 and possibly in the Holiday Bowl against Arizona State. And that's not even taking into account whatever that terrible mess was against Kansas.
Holgorsen was asked what his team has done to correct that result heading into this season. He said that work began as soon as the calendar turned to 2014.
"We've focused on that. That's one of our goals," he said. "We've got a couple of goals that we've talked about in here with our coaches and players and one of them is finishing. That was frustrating last year. It wasn't anymore frustrating for myself than my team to sit in that locker room after losing an overtime game, or losing a 10-point fourth quarter lead. We have focused on that since January. Not only have we focused and talked about it, we've done specific drills where we work on finishing. Finishing periods, finishing practices, finishing reps. It's something coaches say a good bit around here."
When asked how tired he is of talking about losing close games, Holgorsen shook his head and paused. "It's better than getting your ass kicked," he answered.
When you put it that way, Dana.