MORGANTOWN - By any reasonable gauge, West Virginia's offense during the first half of the season has been a rousing success.
Relatively speaking - relative to last year, that is - it has been spectacular.
Yet in Dana Holgorsen's mind, it has been, well, just OK.
Take the Mountaineers' most recent performance, for example. That was a 43-16 win over Connecticut in which the offense at one point scored 31 points in a stretch of less than 14 minutes.
"Offensively, we did just enough,'' Holgorsen said. "We had a lot of opportunities because the defense was giving us the ball and the field position was good. We ended up making some plays, but it wasn't our best offensive performance to date. Physically, we got beat, which is pretty disturbing. But we did make some plays that got us in a position to win.''
If this is mediocre, though, how would Holgorsen have classified last season's WVU offense?
Through the first half of the season, West Virginia ranks fourth in the nation in passing offense, 11th in total offense and 12th in scoring. By comparison, a year ago the Mountaineers finished No. 54 in rushing, No. 55 in passing, No. 55 in total offense and No. 51 in scoring.
In truth, the improvement is not at all unexpected. At Holgorsen's last stop, his first-year results were even more dramatic. Oklahoma State was No. 61 in total offense, No. 99 in passing and No. 56 in scoring in 2009. In Holgorsen's one year there as offensive coordinator, the Cowboys jumped to the top three nationally in each of those categories.
So why the lukewarm reception by Holgorsen over WVU's improvement? Well, because no area is close to reaching its potential.
Receivers coach Shannon Dawson lamented the mistakes made by a receiving corps that is statistically among the best in the country.
Holgorsen and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital constantly warn that Geno Smith is far from reaching his potential.