MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen likes to talk about the tempo of his West Virginia offense and what a disruptive force it can be. But after concluding spring drills last week, it wasn't tempo that was his main concern.
"It's more about execution than it is tempo,'' Holgorsen said. "We've got the tempo figured out. It's about how it looks after we actually snap the ball.''
True. A fast tempo can be a wonderful thing. Running plays at a breakneck pace can wear on an opposing defense to the point that it begins inventing ways to combat it by circumventing the rules of the game. As witness, see the times a year ago when WVU opponents - including even all-powerful LSU - seemed to fabricate injuries that would slow the pace.
But if plays are being called and run rapidly and they aren't getting anywhere, then all it serves to do is to aid the enemy. So that's why Holgorsen is far more concerned with execution before rapidity. There's no sense running plays quickly if it only serves to force a faster punt.
Still, the tempo issue is intriguing if for no other reason than heading into the 2012 season, West Virginia has a new offensive coordinator. Granted Shannon Dawson's elevation to that position is largely one of semantics, and Holgorsen will still run the offensive show.
But it is intriguing because Dawson, by nature, likes a faster tempo than does Holgorsen. And both will admit it.
"He's a fast-paced guy - spread it out, throw it every down,'' Holgorsen said of Dawson, who still serves in his former position as receivers coach in addition to his new responsibilities. "I'm a little more conservative being the head coach. He doesn't really care.''
The tempo at which West Virginia will play this coming season will still be largely dictated by Holgorsen. Despite the job title, little will change for Dawson and Holgorsen on game days. Dawson will still be upstairs communicating to Holgorsen on the field. Thus Holgorsen, if only due to the fact that he remains the final communicator to quarterback Geno Smith on the field (and, of course, because he's the boss) will dictate the tempo of the offense.
"He wins it,'' Dawson said when asked who ultimately has the say. "Definitely, he does.''