We've had a chance to speak to some of the sharpest minds in college football to get added insight on the specifics of how they approach football this offseason in our Stats That Matter series, detailing everything from the physical stamp an offensive coordinator at FCS powerhouse (Delaware's Jim Hofher) is looking to validate to the Moneyball-minded rising defensive star (Texas DC Manny Diaz) to the hands-on defensive guru/head coach (TCU's Gary Patterson). The latest in the series features the hottest offensive coach in football, new West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.
The colorful 40-year-old Iowa native's star has taken off in the past five years. He worked as Texas Tech's offensive coordinator in his final three seasons in Lubbock from 2005-07 before leaving for the chance to get to call his own plays at Houston. The Cougars went from 23rd in scoring to 10th in his first season. In his second year at UH, the Cougars led the country in scoring. He left Houston after the '09 season for Oklahoma State and quickly turned the No. 56 offense into the No. 3 offense despite breaking in a first-time starting quarterback, Brandon Weeden.
This fall, with Holgorsen's arrival in the Big East, expect plenty of fireworks in Morgantown, where he takes over a Mountaineer team that just went 9-4 despite ranking 78th in scoring. Don't be surprised if WVU jumps up about 70 spots in the NCAA scoring stats and if Holgorsen's latest QB project, Geno Smith, emerges as a Heisman contender.
Holgorsen explained to me that one of the biggest things he focuses on is the number of negative plays his team has in a game. The NCAA keeps that stat, kinda.