MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen will wait a few days before deciding on whether Dustin Garrison will play Saturday when West Virginia opens its season against Marshall.The sophomore running back and last year's team rushing leader had major knee surgery in January and, although he practiced for most of the preseason, will be evaluated this week and perhaps for several more before a final decision is made."It depends on how he practices this week,'' Holgorsen said Tuesday. "We've settled on Shawne [Alston] being the starter for some time, so Shawne will start and Ryan Clarke will be the bigger back that we put in there. [Andrew] Buie's been practicing really well."Dustin hasn't had as many snaps over the last seven months, so we'll continue to practice him. It's a long season, and if he's not ready to go this week, then we'll reevaluate it next week. That's just something that we're continuously doing.''
Garrison isn't the only player facing a possible redshirt decision. Perhaps as much as half of the true freshman recruiting class is on the border between playing and redshirting.Holgorsen said he expects as many as 10-15 true freshmen to play, but that could change either up or down."We're still evaluating,'' he said. "We'll do the travel squad and dress list [tonight]. We may make some decisions on guys that won't dress and if they don't dress, we're probably planning on redshirting them. If we do dress them, they are the guys we just know that we're going to put into games."We still might try to redshirt them, but based on availability, if we need them, we'll play them. After the first couple of games, if guys haven't gotten in the game, then we'll probably quit dressing them unless it's an emergency situation.''nn
Two players who will definitely dress are starting safeties Terence Garvin and Darwin Cook.That seemed like it might be a question mark back in the winter when the two were charged with shoplifting at a local Sheetz store, but Holgorsen said the two have long made amends and proven themselves."We handled that a long time ago. We've had lots of talks with them and lots of early-morning workouts with them to see if they wanted to be here, and they've done everything that they've been asked to do,'' Holgorsen said."They're guys with a lot of experience that have been stepping up in the front lines and two of the guys that we're counting on to be leaders of this defense, let alone the football team. I'm proud of how those guys responded and they've done everything we've asked them to do.''nn
After going eight months without a game and then finally opening this weekend, the Mountaineers then have another week off. They don't play again until the Sept. 15 game with James Madison in Landover, Md.Holgorsen would rather it not be that way, but accepts it."That's just part of switching conferences. It's not ideal, but we know how to handle an off week. Everybody has off weeks,'' he said. "However the game goes, good or bad, we'll come in Sunday, watch it and get it over with. We'll practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and we'll go out recruiting on Friday and Saturday. That's pretty much how all off weeks are, so we'll be able to get out next week and watch high school football games.''nn
Holgorsen was asked Tuesday if he'd found any more depth behind starting receivers Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, J.D. Woods and Jordan Thompson."Not really,'' he said. "We have four starters and we'll roll people in. Ivan [McCartney] has done better, K.J. Myers has done better and Dante Campbell has done better. We still have four or five freshmen that we're evaluating.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.