"You can't say there's a cookie cutter for how we do what we do," Wells said. "We do step back in the winter and after the spring and look at the roster and look at the way the coaching staff is approaching the coming season and what they're working with. Sometimes it's players on the team and sometimes it's what's going on inside the program and how we can tie that to the community.
"Anytime you can have synergy with the program, the team, the coaches, the (sports information) office, the marketing office, and everyone can be on the same page, that's where you can find success."
Holgorsen and his staff have been working with this reality for a while now. They, as much as anyone else, know Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are gone. They think they've recruited high school and junior college players who can be stars on offense, defense and even special teams, but they know it can take time, whether those players have been here for a year or two or if they're just arriving.
As they've waited, they've planned and tried to foster a different sort of identity. WVU spent all of the winter conditioning program and spring football working on its "T.E.A.M" mantra. The acronym stands for Toughness, Effort, Attitude, Mountaineer Mentality. It's been anchored to what WVU means to the state and what the state ought to mean to the Mountaineers.
"We've taken different aspects in terms of what this program is about and who we are," Holgorsen said in the spring. "We want to embrace different traditions, understand the past and learn about this great state. We want to educate them. How are all of our young kids going to understand about it unless we educate them about it?"
Wells said that creating collective identity fans can relate to can be just as attractive as having individual identities, which means it's no less beneficial to Wells.
"When you have three guys like Geno, Tavon and Stedman, it becomes pretty apparent who you can hang your hat on and who you can put out front," he said. "Maybe this is more of a blue-collar team that doesn't have as many established stars, so to speak, but has players who combine to do some of the things people are accustomed to seeing. Then we can capitalize on having some marquee names.
"Or maybe you pull back and do something more team oriented and you have something unique, like our new set of uniforms. Maybe those are the things that become the new things we hang our hat on and what drives our marketing and promotional campaigns."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.