The Big East draws from a different region and lands different players, but they also have different offenses that can make use of the mountainous men in the middle. Holgorsen spent nine years in the Big 12 and one in the Big East and recognized as much.
"We faced more good, quality defensive lines last year," he said.
"Granted, some of that was LSU and Clemson, but you're talking about a draft pick at UConn (San Diego's Kendall Reyes), a draft pick at Syracuse (New England's Chandler Jones), Cincinnati had a couple that were good (Denver's Derek Wolfe and Cleveland's John Hughes). I did not see a single difference from a defensive line standpoint in the two leagues."
LSU and Clemson are not Big 12 or Big East teams. The SEC's Tigers were thought to have the best defense, anchored by the best defensive front, in the country last year.
WVU didn't allow a sack and amassed 533 yards. The ACC's Tigers had two linemen drafted in the first three rounds, but allowed WVU a bowl record 70 points.
"Those were our two best games up front," WVU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said.
Bedenbaugh coached seven years in the Big 12 at Texas Tech as a graduate assistant, running backs coach and offensive line coach.
He followed that with four years in the Pac-12 before learning about the Big East last year.
"From the outside, I knew nothing about the Big East before I came in here and that league was better than what people on the outside want to give it credit for," he said.
"There was quality across the board with those defensive lines."
Now he's using that to school his linemen and send them into the Big 12 with a surge of confidence.
"I think the difference we'll see in the Big 12 is more of the true tackles and ends," right guard Jeff Braun said. "What I mean by that is, back in the Big East, they'd play a down safety. They'd play a linebacker as a linebacker and then have him go down and play a defensive end and a defensive end would play defensive tackle, which means you had smaller guys inside.
"We'll see bigger defensive tackles and defensive ends and more guys who are meant to play those positions. They're still going to be fast guys, but they'll have some size and height to them. And they'll have depth. They'll rotate a bunch of guys and there won't be much of a drop off."