Holgorsen learned his offense from former Kentucky Coach Hal Mumme and former Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach. Malzahn was a high school coach before he was hired at Arkansas a year before joining Graham at Tulsa.
Holgorsen said the offenses have things in common.
Both use the spread and try to play fast, thought neither has played with the tempo they prefer this season.
"We're both going to try to run the ball," the West Virginia first-year coach said. "I think the nature of their offense, where they've been the last three or four years, they ran the ball more than we have and we're probably a little more of a straight drop back, throw the ball down the field than they are.
"Both try to use screens and both try to use tempo, but we don't come from the same place. Where they originate from is completely different. Although it looks like it's the same on the outside, it's actually quite a bit different."
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PITT HAS lost five players on offense to season-ending injuries, most notably running back Ray Graham, who was the likely to be the Big East offensive player of the year before he was hurt at home against Connecticut Oct. 26.
Two of the season-ending injuries were on the offensive line and senior right guard Lucas Nix hasn't played since he was hurt against USF Sept. 29. Nix, a Parade Magazine high school All-American in 2007, had started 25 of the previous 26 games.
"We look hopefully to have Nix back," Todd Graham said. "He's day-to-day and continues to be that and I think this is the best chance he's had to be in there and we think he will be."
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WHEN THE Panthers beat WVU in 2007 to keep the Mountaineers out of the national championship game, WVU started four players from the Pittsburgh area and used a handful of others in reserve roles. The roster was otherwise dotted with players from the Steel City area.
In the 2008-11 recruiting classes, WVU signed just four players from the Pittsburgh area - Tyler Urban, Will Clarke, Pat Eger and Nick Kwiatowski. Right tackle Eger (Clairton) and left tackle Don Barclay (Cranberry) start and defensive end Clarke (Pittsburgh) and slot receiver Urban (North Huntingdon) are backups.
"It's one of the areas that we identified when we started to go out in the spring and bring guys in and when we had guys in for camps," Holgorsen said. "That's one area we said we wanted to focus on.
"There are specific areas I said we probably don't need to focus on as much, but western Pennsylvania is one proximity-wise we need to focus on."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.