HUNTINGTON - With the coaching change at West Virginia, and the radical change in offensive philosophy that went with it, Marshall's defensive personnel had to watch a different batch of video.
With Dana Holgorsen in charge in Morgantown, coaches and players have had to examine how he worked as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and Houston, and co-coordinator at Texas Tech under Mike Leach.
In this day and age, 2010 Oklahoma State and 2008-09 Houston games weren't hard to unearth. Modern-day video coordinators generally catch broadcasts of every major-college game and can separate every play, slot them into a database and repackage them as needed.
That gave, for example, Oklahoma native Tyson Gale plenty of time to watch more Oklahoma State football than he has since his childhood.
"Yes, I've seen a lot of it," said Gale, the Thundering Herd's starting middle linebacker. "I know some of the guys who play in [the recorded games]. I got to watch a little more of it than I probably wanted to, but it's something we have to do, because we haven't seen West Virginia run that offense and that's what you have to do when you get in that situation."
Herd defenders seemed to watch a little more of the 2010 Cowboys and some of the '09 Cougars, a team they'll have to watch to get familiar with quarterback Case Keenum later this season. The Cougars' last game against Marshall, in 2008, didn't seem to come up.
That was the first and only time Holgorsen, then the Cougars' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, has coached against Marshall. It was his first of two years at Houston, as he left his eight-year stint at Texas Tech to run an offense on his own under new UH coach Kevin Sumlin.
The Cougars enjoyed a successful year, going 8-5 against a tough schedule and a West Division that was the stronger half of C-USA. They scored more than 40 points a game along the way.
But the Oct. 28, 2008 trip to Joan C. Edwards Stadium? A cold, forgettable night.
Houston was 3-0 in league play and an eight-point favorite against Marshall, which was coming off a cringe-inducing 23-21 loss at Alabama-Birmingham. The Cougars had scored 130 points in the previous three games.
But on this Tuesday night before Rece Davis, Lou Holtz and 20,716 assembled, the Herd wrecked the Cougars 37-23, and it wasn't that close. Marshall led 37-9 with 13:26 left in the game.
It's almost impossible to conceive of that degree of success for the Herd when it kicks off against Holgorsen's Mountaineers at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. But from that game and Holgorsen's history in general, there are things for the Herd and its followers should keep in mind.
A short list:
Let's put it this way: Keenum threw for 317 yards in the aforementioned game, with the Cougars gaining 423 total. Those were season lows by a wide margin until the bowl game.
Over the last three years, Holgorsen-led teams have averaged 42.3 points, 394.7 passing yards and 549.2 total yards per game, and almost 7 yards a play.
While players and coaches were watching Oklahoma State and Houston, an examination of the new East Carolina scheme also was in order. Herd coach Doc Holliday compares WVU's probable attack to that of ECU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who essentially followed Holgorsen's career path through Texas Tech.
"If you look around [Conference USA], it's a wide-open conference, but probably the most similar team to what they do is East Carolina," Holliday said. "Their coordinator was at Texas Tech, and he's tied into that whole Hal Mumme-Mike Leach-Holgorsen deal. That would be my guess."