MORGANTOWN - West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has spent as little time as he can worrying about where players fit on his team's depth chart the past two weeks. Now, though, he has no choice.Most of the main decisions will come in the next couple of days. There's another week to go before it absolutely has to be settled."We don't want to go into the real game week having to rep three people at each position. You can't do it,'' Holgorsen said. "I don't mind repping three at each position [this] week, but then the next week we have to narrow it down to who will play.''Saturday's practice marked the end of pre-classes camp and the players have today off from practice (although they will still lift and run) and then have Monday off when classes begin. So Holgorsen and his staff will do as much evaluation and depth chart work as possible in those two non-practice days.
"We'll work toward getting it settled on Tuesday,'' he said "We'll regroup and get it relatively in order for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.''nn
Much is being made of West Virginia's lack of experience in the secondary, particularly at cornerback. There are but two players, starters Pat Miller and Brodrick Jenkins, who have ever been under the pressure of playing the position in college.
Cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts, though, prefers not to look at his players and see experience vs. inexperience."It's not a concern to me because I'm looking for guys that can cover the deep ball downfield,'' Roberts said. "They can be 12 or 21 years old. I don't care. If they can cover the deep ball, they're going to get a chance to play.''Two of those freshmen continue to stand out above the rest with a chance to do that.
"The young guys, especially Nana [Kyeremeh] and Rick [Rumph], have shown us some things,'' Roberts said. "We haven't been in a real game environment with 65,000 people, but I haven't seen either one of them have a situation get too big for them. With each practice, they've shown they can handle a heavy load.''nn
In recent years, any talk of depth on the offensive line has been just that - talk.With the exception of the need to replace a few injured players, the backups simply didn't play that much. The most notable injury to an offensive lineman recently was the knee injury that shelved guard Josh Jenkins all last season. But that one occurred in the spring, so for the most part the five guys who began the season in the starting lineup ended it there, save for some experimentation at right tackle.Two years ago the five starters were iron men, playing almost every snap.
Will this year be different? Hard to tell. West Virginia's coaches talk about the need for depth and to be able to rotate some fresh bodies into the game every once in a while. But if they actually do that, who is most likely to play?Well, behind the starters - Quinton Spain and Pat Eger at tackle, Jenkins and Jeff Braun at guard and Joe Madsen at center - the three most likely to play seem to be Curtis Feigt, Nick Kindler and John Bassler, all juniors or seniors."Tyler [Orlosky], Adam [Pankey] and Brandon Jackson are guys that are currently rolling in there,'' said offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh. "We have practices left, so we will have the luxury of moving some guys inside. Spain and Eger will move inside in order to give Curtis Feigt and Nick Kindler a chance to play. Those two guys are our No. 6 and No. 7 guys right now. Bassler is probably our No. 8 guy and Braun has the ability to play center."So there is some versatility and some depth. It remains to be seen how much it is used.Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.