The coaches study the receivers and rank them based on their ability to communicate with Smith. Those rankings have a lot to do with playing time.
Smith's familiarity with Tavon Austin and Smith's high school teammates, Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney, has a lot to do with why they've played so much an caught so many passes.
"It's not something you can just take a class on," Holgorsen said.
Even if it was and Holgorsen was the professor and Smith the pupil, the lessons would constantly change. The Mountaineers know opponents study the signals and try to decipher what WVU is doing. The offense has to make changes that protect their messages, but can't confuse Smith or cause him to confuse his teammates.
"You change them up and then you'll have something funny happen," Spavital said. "Geno may fix his shoulder pads and then a kid runs a different route, but Geno was just fixing his shoulder pads. There is some miscommunication, but the one thing we tell them all the time is to be real clear."
That mans no movements that may seem harmless, but could be hazardous. Smith could innocently tug on his facemask, but that might mean something to a teammate. Smith might look over at the sideline and see nothing he recognizes, even though he sees Holgorsen losing his patience.
"I can get aggravated, but if I'm getting aggravated he probably needs to figure out why," Holgorsen said.
Smith said he's getting there because he spends a lot of time with Holgorsen and Spavital. If they're not watching film or getting through practice, they're at the Puskar Center doing normal stuff.
"Sometimes we're not even talking about football. We're just hanging out," Smith said. "You've just got to know him. From practicing hundreds of times and him getting after me, I just know what he wants and expects from me. I can tell how he's feeling and what he wants me to do."
Holgorsen actively participates in practice, where the execution of the communication is as important as the execution of the play.
If the coach is calling the plays in practice, then Holgorsen is getting reps with Smith like Smith gets reps with his receivers. If the Mountaineers practice a play so much in practice that it's easy in a game, the same should be said of the way Holgorsen works with Smith.
"It's the same way every day," Holgorsen said. "Sometimes I do something different and he won't understand it and he just sits there and stares. I'll do it again and he'll go, 'Oh, yeah. Got it.'
"But if I make it very cut and dry and plain as day, everyone in the stands can figure out what the play is. We've got a lot of different ways to communicate and a lot of different signals that are just between him and me and nobody else."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.