MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Perhaps these are the growing pains that were to be expected as West Virginia ventured into being a running football team again.
Or maybe it was wrong to expect a dramatic change at a place that's been so smitten with the pass in games, practices and recruiting for almost three years.
Nevertheless, the Mountaineers began the season certain they could run the ball with so much depth and talent at running back and a new offensive line coach who was going to cultivate a physical quality that would make the difference.
It hasn't worked.
"I don't know why, and that's a good question, but we do work on it," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said.
The Mountaineers (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) average 147.5 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry, and those averages are sliding. They only have 10 runs of 20 yards or more in six games, and one is by a receiver.
Their top two rushing totals this season were against Football Championship Subdivision member William & Mary (172) and Football Bowl Subdivision newcomer Georgia State (245).
WVU averaged 208.5 yards in those two wins. Five of the season's runs of 20 yards or more came against Georgia State, but, perhaps tellingly, none came against William & Mary.
Against its other four FBS opponents, WVU is averaging 117 yards per game and 3.8 per carry. Against Big 12 teams, the averages are 118.3 per game and 3.7 per carry.
Opponents know the problem and it's been increasingly clear WVU knows it, too. The Mountaineers were averaging 195.3 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry just three weeks ago.
They ran 44 times against William & Mary and 42 times against Georgia State. They ran 24 times against Oklahoma, 25 times in a blowout loss to Maryland, 39 times for 68 yards while holding on to beat Oklahoma State and 34 times in a blowout loss Saturday against Baylor.
"They were five yards in our backfield just about every time," Coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Yet the biggest problem with the running game is that it's forcing WVU to do what it hasn't felt comfortable doing all along.
This is a team that wanted to run at the start of the season because it didn't know the identity of its quarterback or its rotation among receivers. This is a team that still hasn't found a quarterback or settled on receivers and is suddenly shuffling its offensive line.
Yet this is a team that has to pass the ball.