Dana: Throwing Shade Or Telling The Truth?

Dana Holgorsen at AAC media day

Dana Holgorsen made a comment on Monday that national writers and people on social media were calling shade. It started after Joseph Duarte published the comment in a 55-second video that now has over 75,000 views.

Dana’s controversial words? “We coach hard. We practice hard. I don’t think that’s happened around here in a while.”
When I first heard his comment, I nodded my head in agreement. Was it really shade? How can it be shade when it’s just the truth? If good coaching and good practice habits had happened in the recent past, Dana would still be in Morgantown.
Both the 2017 and 2018 UH football teams underachieved. Can anyone dispute that? Does anyone that watched this program over the last few years think the players were coached hard? Does anyone think they practiced hard? And does anyone think they were put in a position to excel?
Dana and his staff were left an absolute mess to clean up. And it goes all the way to the core of the program.
The truth is, those players were done a disservice when UH hired someone that was in over his head. And it went to every aspect of the program: the roster, player performance, effort, coaching, and recruiting.

It starts with the roster: Major left a lot of holes to fill. To the point that nearly 25% of the 85-man roster has been turned over with transfers in one off-season. What was Major’s plan for the defensive backfield that was left threadbare? For the DL?

It’s performance: Last year’s team was soft. The OL had major issues, the WRs did not block, the run game dried up late in the season, and the matador defense was inefficient and beaten down by the number of plays they ran.

It’s effort: the last time we saw this team, they were getting housed in the worst bowl loss in college football history. The OL gave up 10 sacks and the defense never forced a punt. How does a service academy get 10 sacks? How do they never have to punt? Surely, UH wasn’t out-talented by Army.

It’s coaching: Major Applewhite left here with a cute 15-11 record but that doesn’t tell the story: 7 of his 15 wins were against teams that finished 3-9 or worse. 14 of his 15 wins came against teams that finished 7-6 or worse. He also allowed non-stop drama around the program without ever dealing with it.
In addition, in two years under Major, the only staffer capable of performing the duties he was assigned was Kendal Briles. Brian Johnson failed as OC in 2017 and Mark D’Onofrio was perhaps the worst coordinator in UH history. And of course, Major was completely in over his head as head coach.

And finally, it’s recruiting: in his second full class, in December of last year, Major signed a WR who’s only other offers were UTSA and Lamar. He signed a QB and a DL that each had only one other offer. The DL’s single other offer: SFA.
Combined, those three signees had two low-end FBS offers (UTSA and Wyoming). This from the guy that was allegedly the darling of Texas HS coaches.
Compare that to what Dana Holgorsen brought in during his first offseason: A 5-star transfer from Alabama that had a recruiting rating out of high school higher than Ed Oliver. According to the 247 Composite, he was the #3 player in the class of 2018.
Dana also brought in a four-star safety that enrolled at A&M after spurning Alabama and a high-three star with an offer from Alabama (he chose TCU). That’s three guys with 3 offers from Alabama vs. 3 guys with 2 other FBS offers total.
Add to it: all eight of UH’s current HS commits in this cycle have a P5 offer including, as a Veer member points out, even the kicker Aidan Martin.
What Dana said isn’t shade. He’s just telling the truth: competence hasn’t “happened around here in a while.” Beyond that, Dana understands that a head coach has to throw a bone to the fan base sometimes (Major never did that, either). Six little words were enough to satiate the fans and give them all a knowing smile.

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