Commentary: WVU's Offense Will Work Right Now

It's the hottest topic on campus these days, and it has nothing to do with West Virginia University's No. 6 party school ranking. Everyone at or interested in WVU – whether it's a student in the dorms or a fan in California – want to know how the Mountaineers' new offense under head coach Dana Holgorsen is going to work.

In almost every sports talk radio interview since January that I've done, a question similar to "Does West Virginia have the pieces to run Holgorsen's offense?" has come up.

It's a valid question, and one that not only I've gotten a hundred times – but the team's defensive players have been asked, as well.

Just ask defensive end Bruce Irvin … or don't.

"Last year it was always about the defense and how good the defense was going to be. This year, people come up and they're all like, ‘How good is the offense? Is it really good?'"

Usually answers aren't as clear to me in football, especially after a summer of such turmoil and three seasons of head-scratching moments.

This question is different, though.

The answer is simple: This offense will work – and it will work immediately.

There is an element of experience and success that many offenses in their first year don't have to give it credibility.

Take for example Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham's offense. It worked well at Tulsa, but it has never been run at a BCS level.

Sure, there's a great chance that it will work just fine in the Big East. I would bet Pitt is one of the top two teams in scoring offense in the conference this season for that matter.

But, Pitt's offense isn't proven like Holgorsen's system.

The man with a Red Bull in his left hand and a call sheet in his right had hugely successful offenses at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State.

It didn't take years for it to kick in either as he "recruited his style of players" or "players learned the system."

The offense is so good, because it's simple enough for college players to understand. And, it can be taught in a mere three days. That's stunning coming from a scheme that was so dense that players had to think instead of react under former head coach Bill Stewart and former offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen.

In its first and only year at Oklahoma State, Holgorsen's offense was lights out. It made a Big 12 Conference filled with talented players and defenses look silly.

Even head coaches with stunning defensive backgrounds like Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Nebraska's Bo Pelini scratched their heads a time or two when facing the Cowboys a year ago.

Holgorsen's offense put up 65 twice in the first three games of his Oklahoma State career. Graham, who was on the other side of one of those 65-point beatings, had a very telling statement about what to expect from the Mountaineers in 2011.

"We were outmatched. Not much you can say except they were pretty spectacular," Graham said after that 65-28 loss. "We have to give them a lot of credit. They did a great job in the receiving corps. The quarterback was basically unstoppable."

Yes, you read that right … unstoppable.

This offense will succeed in 2011 because of the talent at WVU.

Stewart and his former offensive staff did a masterful job of changing the culture at the Puskar Center from a spread rushing attack to a more balanced offense.

That brought players like quarterback Geno Smith, inside receiver Tavon Austin and wide receiver Stedman Bailey to campus among others.

Those players fit just right into the puzzle - and Holgorsen is the best at putting together an offensive puzzle.

He made Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden go from a nobody to one of the best quarterbacks in the country in mere weeks. He also turned running back Kendall Hunter into an all-Big 12 Conference performer. And you all know about wide receiver Justin Blackmon's Biletnikoff trophy.

And that was in Year One.

I don't know how good this year's team will be. Nobody does right now.

But, I can tell how capable this roster will be of executing Holgorsen's offense.

There will be high-scoring game days in the future for the Mountaineers. And I'm sure for WVU fans, that statement couldn't come soon enough.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories