MORGANTOWN - From the day he was hired to ramp up West Virginia's offense, Dana Holgorsen has preached about the simplicity of his system.
He has talked about finding players who give good effort and make plays. He likes to talk about body language, his way of just looking at a player practice and knowing whether or not he really wants to be there.
The X's and O's? Those are almost secondary. If there is anything high tech about Holgorsen's offense, it remains a mystery.
Perhaps nothing, however, goes to the simplistic nature of what Holgorsen wants from the players now charged with throwing and catching the passes that figure to fill the air at Mountaineer Field better than what appears to be their motto.
"For the most part, our assignment is always to find grass,'' wide receiver Stedman Bailey said. "He's not too technical about how things are supposed to be done as long as you're working hard and trying to find grass to make a play.''
"Yeah,'' Bailey said. "Just go to the open area.''
It doesn't get much simpler than that.
In fact, it almost seems like a scramble drill on every play.
"In a way, it is. But there's a method to our madness,'' receivers coach Shannon Dawson said. "There's structure to it.''
In an era when offenses at every level are becoming more and more sophisticated, the thought that simply finding the open space - finding grass - is the key component seems almost a step backward to the days when these same players were gathering on an open lot after school and playing touch football. And in some ways it is.
In truth, though, it is probably a good mix of technique and freedom.
"Take a post route or a corner route. You can run it six times and it might look different five times,'' Dawson said. "There are two different philosophies when you coach. There's the coach who is more of a structured guy where [the receiver] has to go 'A' to 'B' to 'C' and he wants you here regardless of where the defense is. In my mind, that's not the way to coach. I like them to have a little more flexibility and I like players who are able to go out there and make plays on their own, have a little more flexibility in their route running. And that's the way our offense has been for years.''