"If they feel like it's simple, then we can start worrying about the things that make them good players,'' Holgorsen said. "If they're not thinking, then it's more about the technique and effort and repping, getting comfortable and timing and all the rest. We don't want them thinking, we want them playing good. And the less thinking they do, the more we can coach them to play good.''
During West Virginia's five weeks of spring drills, Holgorsen was able to put in virtually his entire system in three days. He then went back and repeated the first three days and continued to do so until his new players knew it as almost second nature.
There's not much more to be installed. By the end of spring practice, Holgorsen had even managed to throw in a tight end formation or two, something he didn't think he would even do with this group.
"We didn't do anything with tight ends just because we don't have any,'' Holgorsen said. "I mean, if we had three tight ends laying around we'd probably use a couple of tight end sets. But we don't have any. Last year [at Oklahoma State] we ran a tight end set probably five percent of the time. But it's hard to do if you don't have them.''
But by the end of spring, this group had picked up the system so well that Holgorsen went ahead with the tight end sets for Tyler Urban. He could do that because the rest of the offense was so simple that most everything had already been mastered.
The trick now - and what makes the offense really go - is repetition and learning the nuances.
The trick, of course, is creating a simple offense and having it succeed. The more basic the offense, the easier it is for defenses to figure it out. But there are so many variations to the same plays in this offense that few defenses have been able to master that yet.
And that's Holgorsen's chief goal now that he seemingly has come up with the simple system that he really likes - changing just enough so that defenses never really figure it out.
"We try to make it all look the same,'' Holgorsen said. "We self-scout ourselves. We have for years and we know what the tendencies are and we try to fix them. And then when you go into a new place or a new year, you do what you can to fix what the tendencies were that you had the previous year. We're definitely trying to focus on not having any. It's hard, but you do your best with it.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.