MORGANTOWN - Officially and statistically, West Virginia's spring practices are 93.3 percent complete. The annual Gold-Blue game tonight at Mountaineer Field will round that off to a nice, even 100 percent.
Yet the No. 1 goal of the program, installing a new offense to replace the one that sputtered badly last year, is nowhere near complete.
In fact, according to quarterback Geno Smith, the Mountaineers are still in the beginning stages of the transition.
"I think we're at step one right now,'' Smith said after finishing the 14th of WVU's 15 spring workouts this week. "I don't think we're close to where we want to be or need to be in order to be successful. ... Nothing happens overnight.''
Well, if West Virginia's offense really is at just the first step of a process that presumably contains several, that might not bode well for the fans who show up tonight for the annual spring game, which is scheduled to begin just after the 7 p.m. old-timers game concludes, or roughly 7:30 p.m.
If they are coming to see what this much-talked-about offense can do, they will get only glimpses and pieces. While all of the basics and the plays have been installed, what hasn't been accomplished is sharpening and honing the ability to run those plays. And that's what makes the scheme work.
"I'm pretty sure that's going to happen,'' Smith said of some fans being disappointed if they are expecting too much too soon. "But if we put up a hundred points I'm pretty sure someone would say it's not enough.
"We can't control that, so we're just going to come out here and play.''
What will be on display tonight is personnel, not just on the offensive side but on a defense that is being rebuilt after the loss of seven starters. Fans will see a wide receiver corps that includes Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Ivan McCartney and Tyler Urban, true freshman running back Vernard Roberts and quarterbacks Smith and freshman Paul Millard.
On defense, they will get a look at Bruce Irvin as an every-down end, a rebuilt secondary that as of now includes a true freshman, Avery Williams, as a starting corner, and a linebacking corps that seemingly never stops substituting.