Maybe the funnest and most interesting plot to spring practice is wondering how Ron Crook will impart his experience coaching the Sanford offensive line in the Jim Harbaugh-inspired offense upon the WVU offensive line and the Dana Holgorsen-influenced offense.
It’s not merely that one prefers to run the ball while the other prefers to pass it. It’s that the two really couldn’t design, install and call running plays much differently. Yet here’s Crook, hired for a reason and with a purpose, now a third of the way through his first spring with WVU.
A simple view reveals the Mountaineers are at least looking at different tools with which to skin the cat.
“We have the parts to do some of it,” Crook said. “The difference is we recruited at Stanford for the scheme we’d been running for years – same as what we’re doing here. We’re recruiting for the scheme they’ve been doing here for years. But when you don’t have five or six tight ends on the roster, you can’t go out and run three- or four-tight end sets. It doesn’t work.”
Just because personnel won’t work doesn’t means plays or philosophies can’t transfer. According to Crook, there isn’t much variation between what Stanford does with a running back and two tight ends and what the Mountaineers might be able to do with Holgorsen’s diamond formation.
Where Stanford’s tight ends are on the line of scrimmage, Holgorsen’s blockers are to either side of the quarterback and in front of the running back in the shotgun.
“We’re going to try to experiment throughout the spring to see what fits and what doesn’t fit,” Crook said. “There’s some stuff we’re going to look at on the field and say, ‘This doesn’t fit,’ and we’ll try other things and say, ‘Yeah, I like the way this looks.’ “