By John Raby
The Associated Press
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy can relate to Dana Holgorsen’s rut at West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are struggling to score one year after their offense was prolific but overshadowed by a struggling defense and a five-game losing streak.
Gundy gets the chance to add to Holgorsen’s headaches Saturday when No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) plays its conference opener at West Virginia (2-2, 0-1).
Gundy went 1-7 in Big 12 play in his first season in 2005. Now he’s the school’s all-time winningest coach.
Holgorsen was Gundy’s offensive coordinator in 2010 and is 19-11 so far in three seasons as the Mountaineers’ head coach. Most of those wins came in 2011 during West Virginia’s march to an Orange Bowl win.
“I think Dana will be fine,” Gundy said. “I don’t really pay much attention to what’s going on outside of our program, but I believe it’s a learning process that all head coaches go through.”
West Virginia had six turnovers and was limited to six first downs in a 37-0 loss at Maryland last week, the first time in 12 years that the Mountaineers were held scoreless. Holgorsen saw panic set in among some players and he tried to restore a sense of calm this week.
“We can’t have guys who are afraid to make a mistake,” he said.
Some are bound to happen against Oklahoma State, which is coming off a bye week and has outscored opponents 136-41.
Among the Oklahoma State players that will be reunited with Holgorsen is quarterback J.W. Walsh, who was recruited by him.
Walsh was hurt and didn’t play against the Mountaineers last year. This season he’s averaging 214 yards passing and a team-high 61 yards rushing per game.
Holgorsen described Walsh as “a winner,” while the sophomore recalled Holgorsen during his recruiting visit as “a character.”
“He was definitely a lot of fun to get recruited by and talk to, and I know he’s a great coach,” Walsh said.