As important as the returning linemen are to Smith's comfort level, ditto for the return of the vast majority of his weapons. Smith will enjoy his full compliment of receivers from last season as well as several returning running backs, mainly sophomores Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison as well as senior Shawne Alston.
"[Smith] had four receivers that he was throwing to, five with Ryan Nehlen, that all had reps in games," Holgorsen said. "That makes it a lot easier. Then you have four or five backs that took reps last year. It's a natural progression for year two. We're really happy with where we're at right now."
While the offense seems like it's picking up right where it left off, the defense is trying to make a big adjustment under newly hired defensive coordinator Joe DeForest.
DeForest will insert a more traditional 3-4 scheme as opposed to Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 stack. As expected, some of WVU's returning defensive players are scrambling to get accustomed to the new alignment early in the spring while others insist it's not that big of a change.
"It's easier than the last defense I had to learn, but it's about getting out the stuff we learned in last year's defense and transitioning to this defense," linebacker Doug Rigg said. "A lot of times, I'm doing stuff that would be right in other defenses, but it's wrong in this one."
"For myself, the scheme is pretty similar," defensive end Will Clarke said. "I was more of a field guy, but sometimes me, Julian [Miller] and Bruce [Irvin] would switch. In this scheme, I'm more of an end and on the strong side of the field.
Among players expected to participate are defensive linemen Irvin and Miller, linebacker Najee Good, defensive backs Keith Tandy and Eian Smith, offensive lineman Don Barclay, long snapper Cody Nutter, tight end Tyler Urban and wideouts Brad Starks and Devon Brown.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.