Officiating has been a hot topic around these parts of late – at least with the fan base.
After the officials reversed a decision on an Elijah Battle interception following a review that appeared to offer no conclusive evidence things were starting to heat up in that department.
Then a highly questionable at best, egregious at worst, offensive pass interference call when David Sills jersey was being tugged yet somehow drew a flag on the penultimate drive of the game. The call pushed the ball back to a first and 25, and effectively ended the comeback attempt of the Mountaineers.
Things were officially good and heated.
After the game, head coach Dana Holgorsen refused to comment on the officiating and he has maintained that stance even when prodded with questions. But when presented with the question if penalties should be reviewed he took the bait, somewhat.
“If you open it up to let’s review pass interference calls to where we can be first and 10 on the 35 as opposed to first and 25 on the -25 then I think we should probably review it. We might all be a lot happier right now,” he said.
However, Holgorsen said that allowing for reviews on penalties is a tricky proposition because it will only further extend a game that is already running long. While Walt Anderson, Big 12 supervisor of officiating for football, said that there are only on average 2.2 reviews per game, it’s slowed games down.
Not because of the process of the review, but due to television.
“Every time they review a play, TV won’t go to timeout because they think that is the most interesting thing throughout the whole game I guess. The suspense of ‘oh, is it really a penalty or is it not.’ They won’t go to commercial, so they sit there and wait for five to six minutes at times. Then they make the call, and then they go to commercial,” Holgorsen said.
“That’s very frustrating to me, and it’s frustrating to the referees, but TV controls all this stuff and there is nothing you can do,” Holgorsen added.
Add in the ability to review certain penalties and it could make games over five hours, Holgorsen said.
The head coach also dismissed the idea of submitting a package of plays for review for the conference labeling it a “waste of time.” That is in large part because it takes work away from preparing for future opponents and won’t change the outcome of a game as well as make him feel any better.
“I think it’s counterproductive,” Holgorsen said.
It's not often that true freshmen play on the defensive line in West Virginia's scheme. In fact, it's quite rare and typically dictated by need.
Lamonte McDougle has been the exception to that rule taking the starting nose tackle spot and there is another that has pushed his way onto the field as well.
Darius Stills, the son of legendary pass rusher Gary, was put into the game against TCU effectively burning his redshirt and clearing the way for the Fairmont native to see more time moving forward. And that's the plan.
"We need to use him because he's active and he can give us some good depth to be able to rest some of these other guys," defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said.
The plan is to cement Stills in the rotation, and although it's unclear how many snaps that means, it does mean snaps -- in large part because not only was he ready to get on the field, the coaches weren't seeing what they wanted out of those ahead of him as well. That's a combination to get on the field every single time.
It's a difficult balance when to pull a redshirt but in the case of Stills, he was ready to see the field it just took a little longer than his roommate McDougle.
"He's just real powerful and strong with his hands. And he just does some nice thing and it's nice to play him," defensive line coach Bruce Tall said. "And he will play more now that he's been on the field."
West Virginia will take on Texas Tech for the sixth time as members of the Big 12 Conference, with the Mountaineers holding a 3-2 advantage in the previous five games of the series.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen spent eight years with the program, first as a wide receivers coach and then as the co-offensive coordinator. He also was on the coaching staff when Kliff Kingsbury was the quarterback for the Red Raiders and would give his former pupil his first job in coaching.
The two have squared off four times, with Holgorsen winning the last three.