"Having a guy that focuses on that and spends the better part of his day making sure we do things schematically and evaluating talent and all that is something that is going to pay off,'' Holgorsen said. "But we've still got a lot of guys who can work on special teams.''
There aren't nearly as many changes on offense, where Robert Gillespie still coaches running backs, Bill Bedenbaugh the line (his recruiting area, Holgorsen said, might now stretch toward Chicago, "to see if he can get us some linemen that look like him''), Jake Spavital the quarterbacks and Dawson the receivers (all of them now that Roberts has moved).
Even the offensive graduate assistant is the same, Vince Cashdollar, although the defensive GA now will be Andrew McGee, fresh from Oklahoma State.
As far as changes go, not nearly as intriguing as some of the others is Dawson's choice as offensive coordinator. That's not a slap at Dawson, it's just reality. Holgorsen got his job as West Virginia's coach because of his offensive credentials and he's never likely to surrender control of that area except on paper.
Dawson, who along with Spavital watches from the press box on Saturdays and communicates with Holgorsen on the sideline, actually doesn't expect things to change much at all. Will he somehow have more control over play calls or something? Not as long as Holgorsen is on the other end of that headset.
"There's times when we butt heads,'' Dawson said. "But last time I checked he still had final say. Remember, he can cut communication pretty quickly. All he has to do is take that headset off.''
By the way, for the record, there will be a few position switches when spring practice begins Sunday. Most are on defense and necessitated by the change in scheme.
It's really just terminology for the most part, although some of it will matter in a more practical way.
For instance, with one of the three safety spots gone, Terence Garvin (and his backups Wes Tonkery and Shaq Petteway) is now technically a linebacker, playing what DeForest says is that Star position. Jewone Snow and Josh Francis are now in the mix at that Buck, which is the linebacker spot most likely to morph into a fourth lineman when needed. Jared Barber and Doug Rigg go into the spring as the top two inside linebackers.
Josh Jenkins didn't lose his starting spot because of a season-ending knee injury last spring. He's penciled in as the left guard, while Quinton Spain gets first crack at Don Barclay's left tackle spot.
Oh, and apparently Cody Clay is a receiver again. After being switched to center soon after practice began last fall, the George Washington grad is listed as a receiver again.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.