Although Saturday will be the first time Baylor and West Virginia will meet on the field, it will not be the first meeting of the teams’ head coaches.
During his time as an assistant coach under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, Baylor head coach Art Briles worked closely with West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. Briles worked as a running backs coach for the program while Holgorsen coached the receivers.
“Dana [Holgorsen]’s a great coach,” Briles said. “He’s done a great job everywhere he’s been. He’s very passionate, very attention detailed and very intelligent, very good schematic mind, and a no-nonsense type of person.”
After his stint at Texas Tech, Holgorsen held the position of offensive coordinator for the University of Houston Cougars after the departure of Briles, along with leading a record-breaking offense as the offensive coordinator of Oklahoma State in 2010, before moving on to become offensive coordinator at West Virginia.
“That wasn’t the easiest job that [Art] took over four to five years ago, and he got it to the point that they are going to bowl games,” Holgorsen said. “They are winning, they are ranked, they are being talked about on a national standpoint, and they are building facilities that are fantastic.”
Neither coach said much concerning the personal relation that exists between the two former co-workers, but there is no doubt a certain amount of respect for the other has grown out of their past experiences.
“I’m certainly not surprised where he’s at right now,” Briles said concerning the success of Holgorsen. “I could see it back in 2000.”
Holgorsen was quick to return a compliment during his weekly press conference in Morgantown.
“What [Art] has done with that program over the last five years is impressive,” Holgorsen said. “It is not a surprise because he did the same thing at Stephenville High School, a prominent school in Texas. He did the same thing at Houston, and he is doing the same thing at Baylor.”
Clearly the two coaches run similar programs, both being very offensively intense. Baylor ranks 37th in the nation in total yardage with 1,706 yards, followed closely by West Virginia ranked 55th with 1,587 yards. But it will be interesting to see the similarities and differences of coaching styles when the teams face-off for the first time on Saturday. --Savannah Pullin