MORGANTOWN - It's time to begin the process of figuring out exactly how this Dana Holgorsen offense is going to work out at West Virginia.
Sure, when the Mountaineers assemble for their first practice this evening there will be plenty of other concerns, not the least of which is reworking a defense that lost seven starters and shoring up a somewhat erratic kicking game.
There will be multiple tasks to perform in tuning the offense that was installed in the spring, too. The offensive line is in flux, a large group of running backs have to be whittled down to a workable number, and just how much this team will rely on the run remains a big question mark.
Perhaps most intriguing, though, is what happens in the passing game. Geno Smith is going to throw a lot of passes this season. And a lot of people figure into the catching part of that equation.
But Holgorsen's most recent offenses have also tended to develop something else - a go-to receiver who puts up big numbers. Huge numbers, in fact. From Michael Crabtree at Texas Tech through Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State - both Biletnikoff Award winners as the nation's top receiver - Holgorsen's quarterbacks have tended to find favorite targets who emerged as stars.
Who that might be at West Virginia remains to be seen. It might happen right away or it could take some time to flush out.
That was the case with Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden a year ago at Oklahoma State.
"Those two guys getting on the same page was fun to watch, but it didn't happen during the spring,'' Holgorsen said. "Justin would be complaining during the summer about how Brandon would never throw him the ball. I said, 'Just hang in there. We'll get all that fixed.' And throughout the course of spring, summer, camp and throughout the season those guys got on the same page, which was fun to watch. And that's not the first time I've seen that happen.''
Indeed, the same has been true at Texas Tech and later at Houston, where Graham Harrell and Case Keenum provided receivers with big numbers to go along with their own.
At West Virginia, though, who that favorite target eventually might be is something that will be worked out in the next four weeks of practice and perhaps stretching into the season.
Tavon Austin is certainly a candidate, but judging from the spring guys like Stedman Bailey, Tyler Urban and even Ryan Nehlen had periods when they were pass-catching machines. And don't forget the possibility of a guy like Brad Starks, who missed the spring with an injury, promising sophomore Ivan McCartney or J.D. Woods.
Smith, for his part, has no idea who it might be. The quarterback has to develop a chemistry with a receiver.