He had known commodities, veterans and returning starters.
Paul Millard's initiation Saturday was a new experience for the 42-year-old head coach. He leaned on the offense's strength and let his quarterback get acclimated. Holgorsen kept the offense vanilla and Millard checked out of passing plays and into runs when the William & Mary defense fanned out.
"They were really taking the top off the coverage," WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "They had what I call an umbrella coverage; they had three (defensive backs) back there. The corners were tighter; they really had five DBs playing.
"We got to run the ball at some point when they're playing off like that ... We weren't going to sit there and throw it 70 times when they have an eight-man coverage."
Even so, the numbers show a shift in philosophy.
The Mountaineers threw the ball 62 percent of the time against William & Mary. Only once in Holgorsen's previous two seasons at WVU did the offense lean more heavily on the run: last season's 59-10 win over Kansas in the penultimate game of the regular season. The Mountaineers ran 46 times against 25 throws - 64.8 percent in the run game's favor.
The 25 pass attempts represented an all-time low since Holgorsen's 2007 season at Texas Tech. The fewest passes his Red Raiders offense attempted that season was 37. His Houston teams never threw it fewer than 33 times.
He'd never had an offense pass fewer than 30 times - ever - until the 2012 Kansas game, when Geno Smith went 23-for-25. Millard went 19-for-25 against William & Mary - Clint Trickett had two incompletions in his two series of work - to mark the third consecutive game WVU has passed fewer the 30 times.
Not once did that happen in the previous 77 games of a Holgorsen offense.
The 2007 Texas Tech team only ran 32.6 percent of the time. Holgorsen's pass-happy Houston teams rushed 39.9 percent in 2008 and 35 percent in '09. That figure ticked up to 46.2 percent at Oklahoma State and is at 45.5 percent since Holgorsen arrived at WVU.
In the past five games, WVU has attempted 145 passes and rushed 215 times - that's nearly a 3-to-2 ratio of run to pass.
"I don't care; it doesn't matter to me," Holgorsen said about the team's sudden reliance on the run game. "Whatever we're good at is what we're going to do. It doesn't matter if we win by 1 or by 40, or if we throw 50 passes and win or rush the ball 50 times and win. We got to figure out what we do well."
Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at chuck.mcg...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949. Follow him on Twitter @chuckmcgill.