Dana Holgorsen plays gunner to fix WVU's punt game


Dana Holgorsen knows how to get West Virginia into the College Football Playoff: Get better on punts.

The Mountaineers opened fall practice on Monday, and MetroNews' Allan Taylor reports the head coach is getting serious about getting better on special teams. Even if that means getting involved himself.

“You guys can go ahead and write this because this is the topic that you guys like to write about,” Holgorsen jokingly told reporters on Monday. “We caught punts for 25 minutes during practice, and we are going to catch them for another 10 minutes here in about five minutes. We will also work on Nick [O’Toole] punting the ball to where he needs to punt the ball.

“That will fix all our problems, and we should win a national championship based on fixing those things.”

There's nowhere to go but up after West Virginia ranked second-worst in FBS at 3.12 yards per punt return. Holgorsen's punt returners had as many fumbles lost (four) as 10-plus yard gains last season. And, on the other end, WVU finished No. 120 in FBS when it came to punt coverage.

So that group needed a little extra attention, and how about this: Holgorsen played the role of gunner on Monday to get a better perspective on how his returners are handling their duties. Yep, the 44-year-old coach was chasing them all by himself.

The result: No drops on Day 1. So they're off to a good start.