"Arizona has a pretty athletic defense," said WVU athletic director Oliver Luck, who was at the Alamo Bowl. "They're not the Chicago Bears from 1986 but they're athletic and pretty strong. And that was a glimpse of 1/8the offense3/8 that we're going to see here."
Setting the pace
The fast-paced nature of the offense doesn't give defenses a chance to catch their breath, but it puts a lot of pressure on Holgorsen's own players as well.
Unlike most offensive coordinators, Holgorsen doesn't call the game from up in the coaches' box. He prefers to be down on the sideline, calling the plays in directly from the field.
Holgorsen's hands-on approach, combined with the demanding tempo of his offense, makes communication an even more important component in the coachquarterback relationship.
"Think about what a quarterback normally does after a pass or a handoff: They watch the play," Luck said. "But our kids will soon get out of that habit. 1/8Holgorsen3/8 doesn't use a backup quarterback to signal in the next play because it wastes time, so it's always right on to the next play. That efficiency is very important to get the offense into a rhythm."
Playing with that kind of speed will also put some added demands on WVU's defense next season.
A faster-paced offense leaves its own defense with less time to rest on the sidelines, especially when things aren't going according to plan.
"The tricky part of the whole tempo thing is that you don't want to put your defense at a disadvantage," Holgorsen said. "You don't want to play fast, go threeand-out and put your defense right back out on the field. You can use tempo to change the game if you need it to change the game, and we're going to be able to do that. We're not just going to go fast as much as we can, we're going to vary our tempos."
Old and new
Fans will certainly see some similarities between Holgorsen's offense and the one Rodriguez ran at WVU, particularly in the pace of play.
"Rich was one of the first guys to just go out and play as fast as he possibly could," Holgorsen said. "I've already talked to 1/8WVU defensive coordinator3/8 Jeff Casteel about the tempo he likes to practice with and he based it on how Rich practiced. And you have to be able to practice that so that it becomes second nature to them."
There are some fundamental differences in philosophy between Holgorsen and Rodriguez as well.
"Rich runs the quarterback where I don't," Holgorsen said. "His run game with the quarterback is just not something I'm interested in doing. And my passing game with the quarterback is a little more extensive than what he did."
And that's music to an old quarterback's ears.
"It's a very exciting offense," Luck said. "Watching 1/8the Alamo Bowl3/8, I thought, 'Man, I wish I was 17 again so I can play in this offense.' "
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