MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - In Dana Holgorsen's first two seasons as West Virginia's football coach, the questions facing him as he opened camp were different than they are today as he begins his third.
In 2011, those questions revolved around style, more so than substance. He had inherited a fairly veteran team that had enjoyed some success, having won nine games for three straight years and 11 in each of the three years before that. How would that group handle a drastically different offensive system?
In 2012, veterans again were all around, particularly on offense. Even on defense there was some experience, but again the question of style dominated with a rebuilt coaching staff on that side.
In 2013? Well, style is on the back burner. For the first time in his tenure, the predominant question Holgorsen faces is not one of how the team will play, but who will play.
"Starters,'' Holgorsen said when asked about his priorities for the 29 practices that lead up to the opening game on Aug. 31 against William & Mary. "You have to practice and see where you're at before you can name starters, and I'm not prepared to name any starters right now.''
Indeed, on both sides of the ball - three sides, really, including the kicking game - jobs are as wide open as in any West Virginia camp in recent memory. When Holgorsen's third squad hits the practice field for the first time late this afternoon, almost every job from quarterback to punter, from running back to center, seems wide open.
At quarterback, the Mountaineers are probably as unsettled as at any time since 2005, when Adam Bednarik was trying to hold off a freshman named Pat White. White eventually won the job midway through that season and was the unquestioned starter the next three years. Jarrett Brown inherited it the following season without much competition, as did Geno Smith the year after that.
Even for Holgorsen, the notion of having to select a starter is rather nostalgic. Not since 2008, when he was the offensive coordinator at Houston and eventually picked Case Keenum for the job there, has he gone into a season without a quarterback who appeared to stand heads above the competition.
This year he has junior Paul Millard, redshirt freshman Ford Childress and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett.
It should be, in a word, interesting.
"As soon as one of them separates himself from the others, the sooner the better,'' Holgorsen said. "That may take a day. It may take 21/2 weeks.
"But I like where we're at with it and I look forward to getting there and being able to coach them. I'm not going to put a timetable on it. When one of those guys steps up, we're going to name the starter and move forward with reps.''