By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
West Virginia University running back Andrew Buie had a spectacular opener for the Mountaineers when he averaged 13.3 yards a carry while scoring a touchdown in a 69-34 victory over Marshall.
But that does not really represent his greatest moment, for that came on a bone-shattering block that nearly knocked a Marshall defender out of his shoes.
It was a block that coach Dana Holgorsen was asked about this week, since his staff does not give out a “Hammer Award” as in the past to the hardest hit.
“Buie’s (hit) was slightly better than K.J. Dillon’s,” the coach said, bringing up another hit by the WVU safety. “K.J. Dillon’s happened right in front of me, which I got really, really excited when I saw that. I even showed emotion; it was awesome.”
In the end, though, Holgorsen admitted he had to go with Buie’s block and, oh, yes, there was one other point he wanted to make.
“The ironic thing about it was that it was the same defender. Poor kid. That really sucks,” Holgorsen said, smiling widely as he walked off, his weekly press conference at an end.
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WVU had a surprise in store for Marshall right from the start as the Mountaineers came out not in the spread formation that Holgorsen used almost exclusively last year, but with quarterback Geno Smith under center.
He used the formation for four or five plays and says more of it will be seen this year.
“Looking back on it, last year it probably would’ve been beneficial for us to do it a bit more than we did. Geno is good at it,” he said. “My last year at Oklahoma State, we didn’t do it because (Brandon) Weeden broke his thumb. We were doing it prior to that, and then he broke his thumb, so we just got in a habit of doing a bunch of shotgun stuff.
“After doing it for a full year consistently, I wasn’t happy with not being able to do it more under center. It gives Geno the ability to do a quarterback sneak, and it gives our running backs the ability to get downhill quicker, so it should help our short yardage.
“The play action out of it is a lot better. It’s something we’ve been working hard at. We practiced a bunch of it last week, and I thought it looked good.”
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The Mountaineers, who don’t play until Sept. 15 in Washington, D.C., against James Madison, will practice hard today and Thursday with the coaches going out recruiting over the weekend.
“We would’ve gone out (Monday), but it was a holiday,” Holgorsen said. “When we have an off week later in the year, we’ll go out Monday and it’s all local. We’ll hit West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland and Virginia.
“When we have a couple of days we can get to Texas and get to Florida. We’ll probably send four to Texas and three to Florida. I think Steve (Dunlap) is going to stay local; other than that everybody is going to be on an airplane going somewhere.”
As for Holgorsen, on Friday he will be in Texas and will watch his nephew play in Houston.
“It’s the only time I can go watch him play if I count it as an evaluation. I can only go watch my nephew play one time; that’s the dumbest rule in the world,” he said.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.