MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The expressions Clint Trickett gave as he looked toward the sideline Saturday would make you think he'd seen Jameis Winston and E.J. Manuel in uniform beside Dana Holgorsen.
The reactions Holgorsen gave to his quarterback's stunned stares would make you think someone replaced the West Virginia coach's Red Bull with - well, he still looked like he'd had plenty of Red Bull.
"I lost several years off my life with the communication process," Holgorsen said. "He's a long way away from being able to operate the offense the way we want him to operate the offense."
That's the bad news. Trickett isn't near where he needs or wants to be if he is to be in charge of the many machinations of the Mountaineers' offense. He can't go fast, he can't change plays and he sometimes can't run the play that was called because he didn't get call.
And in some regard, that last part is good news. He did some things in his win against Oklahoma State that not only weren't ordered on the sideline, but that hadn't been rehearsed in practice. Trickett, at his worst, seems at least able to adapt to a problem and either minimize it or overcome it.
But that fortune is fleeting in football and that's more bad news before Baylor. Trickett -- who for all we all know will or will not start in Saturday's 8 p.m. Fox Sports 1 game against the 17th-ranked Bears -- is still far from fluent in WVU football.
The system of signals Holgorsen uses on the sideline to communicate with his quarterback is still a bit foreign to Trickett, who wasn't available to the media this week. He's still not smooth, efficient and consistent with everything that has to happen for his teammates after he gets that signal.
"That's on him," Holgorsen said. "He should be better at that now."
He's not and that is why Holgorsen threw fits on the sideline and smashed headsets on the ground.
These were "temper tantrums," by his own admission, because the communication with his quarterback is so hard.
And while a lot of this is on Trickett in his first season with the Mountaineers after graduating early at Florida State and transferring in May, it must be understood that it's hard to do no matter the circumstances.
Holgorsen likened it to learning sign language.