MORGANTOWN - Perhaps by the end of the season, West Virginia's offense will look much different than it did Saturday against William & Mary.
Certainly the hope is that it's more productive.
Yes, on Saturday the Mountaineers managed to gain a fairly robust 409 yards and did so without opening the playbook. That's a plus.
But West Virginia also needed 17 second-half points to rally from a 10-point deficit and survive what could have been one of those embarrassing upsets at the hands of an FCS opponent that seem so prevalent these days.
West Virginia got the scores it needed via a 69-yard pass-and-run play from junior quarterback Paul Millard to junior college wide receiver Ronald Carswell, then a short touchdown run from freshman Wendell Smallwood with just 3:22 remaining that broke a 17-all tie and gave the Mountaineers a 24-17 win.
But the bottom line was that this didn't look anything at all like the offenses Dana Holgorsen has made famous over the years.
Yes, a defense that played pretty well but was still victimized by two spectacular catches by NFL-caliber wide receiver Tre McBride had something to do with making the game more competitive than most believed it would be. But an offense that was largely vanilla and could generate neither consistency nor big plays was what stood out.
It will get better, Holgorsen said after the opening win in front of a crowd of 56,350 at Mountaineer Field. But it might also take some time.
"We'll get a lot better,'' Holgorsen insisted. "Offensively we're still obviously trying to find an identity.''
Well, here's the identity West Virginia has after one game: It's a running football team.
After a month of competition and a week of secrecy about his quarterbacks, Holgorsen started Millard, the backup to Geno Smith the last two years, over Florida State transfer Clint Trickett. Trickett had his shot for just two series in the second quarter and went 0-for-2 passing with a sack in two three-and-out series. He didn't get another chance.
But for the most part, Millard was merely asked to manage the game. He completed 19 of 25 passes for 237 yards and the touchdown to Carswell, but those are very unlikely numbers for a Holgorsen quarterback. Last year the only time Smith threw 25 or fewer passes was when he completed 23 of 24 in a comical rout of Kansas.