MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen insists that his second August camp as West Virginia's head coach won't be much different than his first. And, truth be told, there's not much reason to change things.
Yes, he was pretty much thrown into the fire a year ago, elevated to his current position less than two months before the start of camp. But that was enough time to put things in order and get organized. And it wasn't as if Holgorsen was a complete novice.
"My two years at Houston and the one year at Oklahoma State I was heavily involved in how we practiced and how we did camp,'' Holgorsen said. "So I had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do. We haven't changed a whole lot from last year to this year.''
When the Mountaineers opened camp Thursday, though, there was one very noticeable difference from a year ago. Holgorsen wasn't throwing passes. Neither were quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital or offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.
And that's a good thing.
"Yeah,'' Dawson said. "That was pretty embarrassing, wasn't it?''
Last year, those coaches were throwing passes during practice for a very good reason. There weren't enough warm bodies among the players to do so. But this year Holgorsen has rectified the problem by bringing five quarterbacks to camp.
Besides senior preseason Big 12 player of the year Geno Smith and his backups, sophomore Paul Millard and freshman Ford Childress, Holgorsen has two walk-on quarterbacks, including Fairmont State's starter the last two years.
Last year, Smith and Millard were the only QBs in camp when it started, and over the course of the next few weeks Holgorsen scrambled to find anyone who could throw. He eventually got some walk-on help at the position, but until then he and his coaches had to step in so that Smith and Millard weren't throwing 500 passes a day.
"We've got five arms, which helps,'' Holgorsen said after putting his team through a 21/2-hour workout in shorts. "It alleviates some of the throwing that Geno and Paul do.
"Long term it should really help us. We can get better from a drill standpoint and not wear out Geno's arm and Paul's arm.''