Perhaps part of that can be blamed on an injury to Bailey, who sat out the second half of the game at Texas Tech and was ineffective (four catches for 34 yards) against Kansas State. But he didn't catch a pass of more than 16 yards in the first half at Texas Tech, either, after having seven catches of 30 yards or more in the five games prior to that.
So when analyzing West Virginia's offensive woes, it might be wise, too, to examine the vertical passing game.
But there are a lot of things that go into that, not the least of which is giving Smith the protection he needs while his receivers run longer routes, along with the receivers being able to run those routes against tighter coverage. Smith was also not as accurate as he had been on the deeper routes, especially at Texas Tech.
To compound matters, when defenses did a better job of covering the deep routes, the Mountaineers didn't take advantage underneath.
"First, we have to protect,'' Holgorsen said. "We know who Texas had coming off the edge, so we were conscious of that and didn't throw vertical very much. Texas Tech was more press. We didn't handle the press very well at receiver. Geno was not very accurate down the field. We threw down the field six or eight times.
"Then against Kansas State, the pass rush was very good. They were rotating a lot of guys and they were athletic. There wasn't a specific guy we were scared of, but we were aware of them. They did a good job of getting to us, but their corner coverage was off. We should have done a better job of completing the ball underneath.''
In other words, it has been a variety of issues that have curtailed the offense, from tempo to recognizing opportunities to throw the ball short.
"It's a combination of a lot of things,'' Holgorsen said. "It's not the plays we're calling. We called plays that would have gotten the ball down the field. Whether we broke down up front or Geno got his eyes away from it, we didn't do a good job with it.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.