A version of the Holgorsen offense was demonstrated at it's finest by Baylor against WVU last Saturday. There is really nothing complicated about it. The "airraid" offense is most commonly associated with the spread formation and a pass first philosophy. There is a reason it's working for Baylor but not yet for the Mountaineers.
Most coaches that run the airraid offense have at some point in their coaching careers worked under Mumme or Leach including coach Dana Holgorsen.
The airraid offense requires the players to learn only a handful of individual plays and to repeat them over and over with the same teammates. A receiver may only have three routes to run, and the decision on which one he executes depends upon how the defense lines up and the reaction of the defender.
Quarterback Geno Smith and Steadman Baily ran it to perfection at WVU. The action of the defenders when the ball was snapped determined the route that Bailey would run. Both Bailey and Smith knew what it would be.
Although the traditional arraid offense concentrates on the pass much more than the run, coach Holgorsen has developed the "diamond formation" with three running backs in the backfield. But the principals are the same. If a defender does "A" when the ball is snapped, the player it affects does "B". And he does it automatically.
The success of the WVU offense is highly dependent upon players practicing and playing together to develop familiarity running the same plays repeatedly until the plays become second nature. As with all variations of the original airraid offense, the WVU version has two basic requirements to succeed.
The players must practice together constantly to become instinctive in their interaction during a play. They must also go from one play to the next quickly without a huddle.
When a defense cannot substitute or even call defensive plays due to lack of time before the play starts, they are trapped in a base defense. The defenders also begin to experience fatigue. Each subsequent play tires the defense even more, increasing the success of the offense.
This year, three quarterbacks have played two games each . The offensive linemen and receivers have also been moved from position to position and in and out of the lineup.
As WVUPressbox writer Jeff Woollard points out, there is no continuity. That is an absolute requirement for the success of WVU's offense.
For me, it's very simply explained in basketball terms. If a point guard is dribbling the ball and sees his power forward make a certain move, he knows the forward is going to the basket for an alley-oop pass.
If the forward moves differently, he's going to the corner in anticipation of a pass for a three point shot. It's the same principle with a quarterback and his receiver.
This kind of familiarity and interaction requires continuity and many repetitions in practice and games. Changing quarterbacks, linemen or receivers circumvents the entire process.
Whether by coaching decision or caused by injuries, that is exactly what WVU has done so far this season. We have seen the results and so have the coaches.
The Mountaineers have the talent and personnel at most positions to make the WVU offense nearly as efficient as Baylor. Unfortunately, at this point few of the players on the field know how their teammates will perform on any given play. The starters have spent very little time practicing and playing together.
Each player may know his own assignment and execute it well. Unfortunately there is no synergy in the passing, receiving and blocking. Many of the players are unfamiliar with the speed, style and talent of the teammates they must interact with to make a play successful.
If the same players can take the majority of repetitions together during the next week, the offense will be much more effective against Texas Tech. It's time to shut down the carousel at all positions on offense. The season is half over. The starters should have been determined by now.
That is my opinion as well as the coaches that have developed and implemented the airraid offense.