MORGANTOWN - We wrote in this space last week that it was certainly premature to take a snapshot of anything that West Virginia's new offense was doing during the spring and try to use that as a basis for predicting what it might look like when the season begins 41/2 months from now.
It's kind of like looking at a table full of ingredients and predicting what a chef might do with them all. In the case of Dana Holgorsen, he's still just trying to figure out what the ingredients are and what best to do with them. And it will likely be August before he's sure.
Still, with fully two-thirds of West Virginia's 15 spring practices in the books, it was worth a shot Monday morning to find out if he was willing to divulge much of anything regarding the direction his first WVU offense might take. Certainly he's formed an opinion or two.
So, after 10 days of being able to watch his players and discern at least some of their strengths and weaknesses - after three weeks of studying who he has and what they can do - has WVU's new offensive coordinator begun to sort things out?
"That's a loaded question. Yeah, a little bit,'' Holgorsen said. And then he quickly flashed a sly, perhaps even evasive grin. "But I'm probably not going to tell you what I think.''
Then again, who would have expected him to?
"It's just going to take a long time to figure out what we can do,'' Holgorsen said.
OK, fair enough. After all, Holgorsen isn't even working with a full deck of cards here. Let's face it, a coach who is likely to throw the football perhaps more than anyone in school history is working right now with a receiving corps that is trying to prove itself to him, two of three quarterbacks who were in high school just four months ago and perhaps his two best pass-blocking tackles recovering from shoulder surgeries.
Yes, Holgorsen has been able to evaluate those receivers and his quarterbacks. He's seen the variety and skill sets possessed by his running backs and fullbacks. He has enough linemen to at least form two squads and he's seen them all work extensively.
But evaluating each group by itself and trying to figure out what they can do together is a whole different ball game.
Take Saturday's first full-scale scrimmage, for example.
"If we want to do a lot of drop-backs, which we did about five in the scrimmage, it's complicated,'' Holgorsen said. "But there are a couple of reasons for that. One, the weather [was lousy] and two, we have two freshmen tackles that are trying to block an All-American [Bruce Irvin]. So it looks bad. So don't do it. Do something else.
"But the better we get at getting backwards and finding a guy that can pass-set and stop an end or sort out a blitz and all that kind of stuff, the more we'll do that. And if we can't do it we won't do it. We know what we want to do, but it's a process to evaluate what our guys can and can't do, which is going to take a lot longer than 10 practices. It won't be until two or three weeks [before the opener] before we settle in on what we can do right.''