MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- In some meeting rooms, college football coaches try to find ways to call roughly the same number of passing and running plays in every game. On other campuses, the goal is to end the game with about as many rushing yards as passing yards.
Both call that balance.
To Dana Holgorsen, it would be a coincidence.
"We pay attention to that within the game as far as who is touching the ball and we've done a good job spreading the ball around to certain people, but I don't check it every quarter and make sure we run it 50 percent of the time and throw it 50 percent of the time," the West Virginia coach and offensive coordinator said. "That makes no difference to me. It's about what works, and you keep calling it."
What Holgorsen and his offensive assistants assemble before a game is a list of plays they believe will work against the opponent. These are the plays the Mountaineers have practiced again and again so that they might be effective no matter what defense they encounter.
If passes far outnumber the runs, if they somehow end up with more rushing yards than passing yards, so be it.
Holgorsen's idea of balance is making sure a bunch of people get the ball, whether by pass or by run, and then get a bunch of yards.
"At halftime, if we look at the touches and see all five positions that can touch the football are getting touches, then that's good balance," said inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson, who played for Holgorsen and then took what he learned into his coaching career, including his time as the offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin.
"If the defense is out there end everyone is touching the ball pretty much equally and they all have five catches across the board, I think that's pretty tough."
Holgorsen's Mountaineers, who open the season at home on Sept. 4 at 3:30 p.m. against Marshall, will pass the ball more than they throw it and history suggests the offense will make a star of someone who will get a majority of the receptions.
Still, a second, third and maybe fourth receiver should consistently get catches and the running backs will be asked to catch and carry the ball, too.
"Going into a game, we want to have a two-deep at all of our positions," Dawson said. "Not two human beings, but two people who can go out and make plays."
The opportunities are there for everyone and it's up to quarterback Geno Smith to get the ball out and attack the defense. His job isn't to keep track of the touches, though.
"He can't go out there and say, 'Well, I threw the ball twice to Tavon Austin, I've got to get the ball to Tyler Urban. I've got to get the ball to Stedman Bailey.' The quarterback is taught to go through his progression and get the right guy the ball," Dawson said "It's our job as coaches to make sure the balance takes place.