MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Their days of running 40s and preparing for playing a regular season's worth of games may be over, but don't think West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson weren't exorcising things during winter conditioning.
While the Mountaineers were lifting weights and working out to add pounds or drop weight, the WVU coaches were tailoring their offense.
"Trimming the loose fat, so to speak," Dawson said.
For two years together and with Geno Smith playing quarterback, Holgorsen and Dawson watched the offense work wonders and do so in very different conferences. When their first Big 12 season ended with a bowl loss to former Big East adversary Syracuse, the two coaches decided changes were in order.
"It was just me and Dana just brainstorming about where we needed to go as an offense," Dawson said. "We wanted to get back to the nuts and bolts of what made it what it was. We kind of got away from it a little. Having a guy like Geno, you tend to give him a little more leeway than some guys we've had in the past."
Smith was too good to keep strictly within the parameters of the offense. He was allowed limited liberties when he saw something or when he thought he could do something, so long as it didn't stray too far from what Holgorsen and Dawson designed. It was still the same offense and the statistics looked familiar, too.
Things are going to be different in 2013 when either junior Paul Millard or redshirt freshman Ford Childress replaces Smith in the offense that asks so much from the starting quarterback. Whoever starts will be working with new starters at center, both guard spots and at least three of the four receiver positions.
"We're getting back to the bread and butter of what we do, and it's probably the right time because of the inexperienced guys and everything," Dawson said. "That probably had something to do with it. It's just something that needed to be done."
The blueprint of the offense hasn't been edited and the game plans will be built the same as they have been in the past.
Practices may be slower and more detailed this spring, but they have the same lessons and are progressing toward the same outcome.
Truth be told, there might be nothing visually different about the offense apart from all the new jerseys on the field.