WVU looking to regain confidence
MORGANTOWN -- In a matter of two weeks, the No. 23 West Virginia University football team went from being a national title contender to a team fighting to keep itself in the Top 25.
After emerging as one of the nation's best teams when they won their first five games, the Mountaineers are hoping to use a Saturday home game against TCU to gain back some of the confidence they had early in the season.
TCU (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) and WVU (5-2, 2-2) meet at 3 p.m. in Milan Puskar Stadium. The telecast is on WVAH-11.
"Confidence is what helped us out early on in the season, and that's something we need to get back to and just reassure ourselves of that confidence level and that confidence aspect on the field," said redshirt senior wide receiver J.D. Woods.
Like a lot of players on the West Virginia offense, Woods struggled the last two weeks in losses to No. 20 Texas Tech and No. 3 Kansas State. But, the Naples, Fla., native said all successful teams are forced to overcome adversity during the course of a season.
The great teams are the ones that can move past those struggles and continue to win, he said.
"In college football you're going to face a lot of adversity. We've experienced a lot of adversity the last couple of weeks, and something that we're overcoming is adversity and bringing ourselves together as a team," Woods said. "Mentally we got back together as a team -- as one team, one movement -- and that's the main thing we're trying to reach right now is just one movement.
"We're all one family and one movement."
West Virginia is coming off a bye week when they got back to the basics and worked on things they weren't executing properly.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen said it's important to take advantage of practice opportunities.
"You get so caught up in the week-to-week preparation -- as far as what your game plan is -- that throughout the grind of the season you tend to forget what a lot of the fundamental aspects that being football players is all about," Holgorsen said. "And that's ultimately how you improve is by getting better at technique. Being able to visit that and get better at that will hopefully show up on the field."
But the bye week also allowed WVU to gain a sense of urgency when it looks at what it has to do to accomplish its goals the rest of the season. The Mountaineers won the Big East Conference last season with two losses in league play, but they understand that if they don't change things starting this week, their goal of winning a Big 12 title could be done for.
"There's definitely a sense of urgency," said freshman inside receiver Jordan Thompson.
"We needed (the bye week) a lot to clear our minds after the two losses we had. We worked hard throughout the week and found out that our season isn't over, and we're still going to compete."