"I've got kids telling me, 'Well, they know our signals,' or 'They know what we're running.' I don't care. They might know them in the game, too,'' Dawson said. "The bottom line is if we can execute versus a defense that somehow knows what we're doing, then we can execute against a defense that's only practiced against [our schemes] for three days.''
As far as actually knowing if the offense has made significant strides, well, that's not likely to come about until the season begins Sept. 1 and another set of uniforms is across the line of scrimmage. Until then, it's just a matter of trying to win the little battles.
"I think you can tell little things, most of it not on the field but in meetings,'' Dawson said. "Take our blocking. Our angles were bad the first couple of days and we got that fixed. I can tell we improved on that because we're better at it. But as far as execution of the offense, there's times where we look really good and there's times we look really bad.
"Spring is spring. You just rep, rep and rep and try to find small competitions. We've got competition, especially with those redshirt freshmen who are going to have to play as backups. This is huge for them.''
NCAA bylaws limit offseason participation to eight hours a week and athletes must have two calendar days off each week. Earlier this year, the football program was holding its final activities early Friday morning and then dismissing the athletes until 4 p.m. on Sunday. While that was roughly 57 hours off, it was not two full calendar days, which is a violation.
It happened twice in February and the school reported the matter to the NCAA and imposed its own penalties, increasing days off from two to four for two weeks in March.
The secondary violation is one of thousands that schools report to the NCAA each year.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.