MORGANTOWN - Sometimes all this coaching mumbo jumbo is just that.
They design intricate formations, employ dizzying motion and speak with confusing terminology. Much of it is designed to deceive opponents and, or so it seems, fans alike.
And then along comes something fresh and new and revelatory, something that perhaps never before occurred to coaches making hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, despite its incredible simplicity.
Like maybe putting Tavon Austin in the backfield and handing him the football. Don't overthink it or overscheme it. Just do it.
"I only had two plays,'' Austin said after one of the most productive individual performances in NCAA history. "Run to the left and to the right.''
In the end, it didn't matter as far as Saturday night's result was concerned. Austin and West Virginia still lost to Oklahoma, 50-49, on a Landry Jones-to-Kenny Stills 5-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds to play. That was the second time the Sooners had erased a WVU lead in the closing four-plus minutes after the Mountaineers had battled back from game-long deficits to take the two late leads.
Still, what Austin did was historic and it was revealing. On the latter of those two points, it was revealing in that turning Austin loose as a running back signals to remaining opponents Iowa State and Kansas that they had better prepare long and hard for the new wrinkle. And yet another dimension can only be a good thing.
"I would think probably so,'' offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson replied late Saturday night when asked if Austin's move into the backfield would be repeated. "We'll game plan [for Iowa State on Sunday] and I'm sure we'll find ways to get him the ball. It'd be pretty stupid if we didn't.''
Indeed, against a defense other than Oklahoma's run-inviting 4-1 front, lining Austin up and expecting similar results is probably unrealistic. But after Saturday night's performance, some variation of it certainly has to be tried.
Not having lined up in the backfield regularly since his days at Baltimore Dunbar, Austin did so right from the start against Oklahoma. By game's end his numbers were utterly staggering, as was his performance itself: