The new football coaching staff reiterated their desire to field a defense-first squad with the ability to do what is needed with a powerful, opportunistic offense. No longer will West Virginia continue to pound the ball at the strength of opposing defenses. No longer will every athlete be placed on the offensive side of the ball. And no longer will a totalitarian approach reign over creativity and the ability to simply win.
The Mountaineers, it seems, will take looking bad and winning over looking good and losing. Or, perhaps more accurately, not continuing to play strength for strength when overwhelmed and instead play for the best match-ups. Head coach Bill Stewart has already stated he is committed to expanding the offense further, meaning some I-formation looks and legitimately giving receivers a chance to make plays. That was backed time and again by his assistants, who have come dangerously close to a straight-up ridicule of Rich Rodriguez's run-run-run-punt-lose to a lesser foe style.
"If you can add a dimension and make people think about something else other than Pat White this way and Noel Devine this way it helps," wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway said. "We pretty much did the same thing at Appalachian State that they did here, just with a passing game. Especially if they load the box up with eight or nine people, give the guys a chance on the outside to make a play and go get the ball until they prove they can stop it. Look, it's not a full-fledged, come in here and sling the ball all over the field 35 or 40 times a game. But the biggest thing is that we will do whatever it takes to win the game."
"If we have to run to run the clock out, that's what we are going to do," he continued. "If we need to throw it, then we'll mix it in. Coach will do a good job mixing the pass with the run. I have only watched them work one time. Spring ball will tell, but we have to put them in good situations. If they are expecting a run, then play action and hit them with a pass. You don't have to be that fast of a guy to get open on that."
Hmmmmmm. Does the staff feel that Rodriguez was too stubborn? That's what it reads like.
"My comment on that will be that Coach Rod and their staff won a lot of ball games here, so he obviously knew what he was doing. I'll leave it at that," Galloway said.
This is not to ambush any new assistants. They are being honest, and, truthfully, they are correct. Similar sentiments have been echoed here. And offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen said when defenses outnumber players in the box, "you have to have a legitimate answer."
Cha-ching. It's really not rocket science. More Footballogy, 101.
"We will still be in the spread, no-huddle," running backs coach Chris Beatty said on Wednesday. "There will be changes in the passing game. But the running game – you don't change what isn't broken."
But you do change what is.