"It doesn't matter if I like them or not,'' Holgorsen said of both the new special-teams rules and those limiting below-the-waist blocks on scrimmage plays. "I've got to understand them and coach them.''
The most visible of the new rules, from a fan's standpoint, are probably the 35-yard-line kickoff and the 25-yard-line touchback, simply because they will happen so often in the highest-scoring league in the country. There will certainly be more kicks into the end zone from 5 yards closer, but will there be more touchbacks? Logic says yes because there's more reward now with the extra 5 yards on the other end.
That's not necessarily the case, though. Witness the NFL, which moved kickoffs to the 35 last year, but kept the 20-yard-line touchback.
"Look at what the NFL did early in the year last year,'' Holgorsen said. "If you remember, the kickoff team was going down slow because they knew that thing was going into the end zone. And about the time they relaxed those guys took it out from 8 yards deep and there was a whole bunch of kickoff returns in the NFL early.''
Will that happen in the college game? Who knows? Holgorsen merely says that he and his staff have "done all the studies and we'll have a plan.''
The rules surrounding the kickoff game, though, don't figure to be the biggest changes for West Virginia. Corey Smith and Tyler Bitancurt split the kickoff duties last season and each had his terrific and embarrassing moments. Ditto Smith and Mike Molinari as punters. They each had games - or sometimes stretches of games - in which they looked like Ray Guy. But both also had punts that looked like their first ever.
All are back - Smith and Bitancurt are seniors and Molinari a sophomore - and Holgorsen says there will be a difference this season, and it's a simple one.
"The one thing about our specialists is that they're going to get coached a little bit better this year,'' Holgorsen said. "One oversight that I had [in his first season], not being able to put a whole staff together, is I didn't have a guy who knew how to coach those guys. I thought by me yelling at them that would fix it. It made it worse.''
He corrected that when he hired as his defensive coordinator Oklahoma State's Joe DeForest, who also coached some of the best special teams in the country the last 11 years at OSU.
"Joe DeForest has coached Ray Guy [Award] winners, he's coached Lou Groza [Award] winners. He understands how to coach specialists,'' Holgorsen said. "We should show some improvement with those guys just because of that.''
There's also a wild card as far as those kickoffs are concerned. Josh Lambert was signed late as a kicker out of Texas and probably will take some time to adjust to placement kicks. But if he can put the ball on the 35-yard line and whack it into the end zone consistently, might he play right away?
"Maybe,'' Holgorsen said, pointing out that it will probably take a couple of weeks of camp to see what Lambert can do. "It goes back to that question, if you can help the team in any form whatsoever, I don't care what it is, we're going to play you. So I've got no problems playing him just to do that if he helps the team.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.