The Mountaineers weren't perfect, but they weren't clueless, either, and they certainly knew what to expect because of what Coach Dana Holgorsen knew about the Cowboys offense he shaped as the coordinator in 2010. This week, it's Baylor and Coach Art Briles, who Holgorsen worked with on the staff at Texas Tech and who he followed at the University of Houston after Briles left as the head coach there to take over at Baylor. Holgorsen has watched Briles' offense since he was winning state titles at Stephenville High in Texas.
But Holgorsen also hired Patterson specifically because of the way Patterson had defended Holgorsen's offenses and how Holgorsen believed that would translate to the Big 12. Give Patterson a week, one without the 20-hour limit the student-athletes aren't allowed to surpass, and the thought within the Puskar Center is he'll figure out something to stop the other team's offense.
"He prepares us from Sunday to Saturday morning," defensive end Will Clarke said. "We watch a lot of film. We go over schemes a lot. It's a lot of repetition - a lot of repetition."
Only some of that is unusual. A lot of coaches will start to whisper about the upcoming opponent the day after the last game ended. On Tuesday, coordinators share their game plan and they're rehearsed throughout practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There's film every day, too, either of the opponent or of the way preparations looked in practice.
Patterson keeps his players busy Friday at the team hotel, either in Morgantown or on the road. The defense gets together in a room to watch some more film and then Patterson gets particular.
"He goes around the room and makes us stand up and state what we should do on certain plays and when we see certain formations," Banks said. "He goes by position. That helps us a lot because you know what everyone else knows."
The Mountaineers sleep on that, but get together one last time before they leave the hotel for the game. Patterson reviews the opposition's tendencies and reminds players who and what to take away during certain plays.
"Then he shows us more film and he usually gives us a nice speech that gets our blood boiling," Banks said. "He keeps us prepared. He keeps us on our toes."
The Friday night activity isn't new, though Patterson's inquisitiveness has opened eyes among players and makes them make sure they aren't without answers if their names are called. The Saturday sessions are new, but so are these results to many of the players.
Young or old, they realize it's all connected.
"I just feel he's a good person, a good motivator," Cook said. "I feel like since he tries so hard for us a lot of people want to give everything for him. We know how much he really cares. He reassures you. Every week he tells you he loves you and cares about you and you can see it. It's really good just playing for him."