Spring football and the formative stage of preseason camp is broken down into three-day periods of installation.
After the third day is complete, the Mountaineers go back to the first day and repeat that day's lessons and add a little more. The increasingly detailed cycle develops familiarity before confidence and then expertise, and that's particularly important for a WVU team that has as many unknowns as this one.
"Offensively, we're so inexperienced, I don't know where to start," he said. "We've got a bunch of guys who make plays and make a mistake."
The Mountaineers are searching at their own pace for a quarterback, a center, two offensive guards and an entirely new set of starting receivers. Quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson coached receivers last season. He's also the coordinator in charge of not only all the new parts and the things they can handle, but of two new assistants and what they know and prefer.
Receivers coach Lonnie Galloway was at Wake Forest the last two seasons and offensive line coach Ron Crook was at Stanford the last two seasons. Galloway is familiar with the Mountaineers because he was the receivers coach in 2008-10, but Crook coached tight ends and offensive tackles for the Cardinal, who do things much differently than WVU.
The changes on defense may be more extreme. Slaughter remains, but linebackers coach Keith Patterson is now the defensive coordinator after sharing the job with Joe DeForest last year. DeForest is no longer involved with the defense and the former safeties coach is now running special teams. Former East Carolina defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell was hired to coach cornerbacks and Tony Gibson, another former WVU assistant, is now back coaching safeties.
Patterson is adjusting the defense to his preferences as they fit the personnel, but the personnel is new, too, with four starters gone from last year's disastrous defense and many new faces in place and ready to arrive over the summer.
Holgorsen believes in Patterson's potential to make the repairs and improvements that are required because, as he said and as everybody learned, "it's hard to play defense in the Big 12."
"I have always loved what he's done defensively - that's the reason I hired him from a scheme standpoint," Holgorsen said. "There were a couple of different philosophies last year, but now there is obviously one voice, there is one scheme, and that is what we want to do. The continuity of the staff and what we are doing schematically and with everybody being on the same page, you see a lot of people that are in a position to make plays."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.