The Times West Virginian

Sports

March 6, 2013

Proving ground

Spots up for grabs going into WVU spring ball

MORGANTOWN — Dana Holgorsen’s second spring football practice begins Sunday and it can’t come quickly enough for him.

He has that much to do.

“Losing a lot of star power means we have a lot of hungry kids who want to prove themselves,” he said at the annual pre-spring luncheon and press conference at the facilities building at Milan Puskar Center.

“We obviously lost a lot of productivity that we have to replace, but that’s the nature of college football,” Holgorsen continued, adding “by no means will we panic.”

In truth, this season is not far off from starting over for Holgorsen, who will be working with five new assistant coaches and without Geno Smith at quarterback, Tavon Austin at slot receiver/running back/kick returner and Stedman Bailey at wide receiver, to say nothing of his entire interior offensive line.

Obviously, the No. 1 goal is to find a quarterback to replace Smith, who figures to be the first QB selected in the NFL draft.

Holgorsen doesn’t expect to make that decision during the spring unless one of his three quarterbacks — Paul Millard, last year’s backup; Ford Childress, a redshirt freshman, or newcomer Chavas Rawlins — separates himself from the group.

“We won’t know for a while,” Holgorsen said.

Holgorsen not only has to decide on a quarterback, but who the quarterback will be throwing the ball to.

At wide receiver, auditions will be held all spring, such is the extent of the losses.

“We have a lot of guys who haven’t played,” Holgorsen admitted. “That’s exciting to me.”

The interior line lost guards Josh Jenkins and Jeff Berk along with center Joey Madsen, who also figures to be drafted by the NFL.

One of the key experiments in the spring is moving Pat Eger from tackle to center, considering that the Mountaineers are deep at offensive tackle.

New offensive line coach Ron Crook, who just signed on from Stanford, has a lot of work to do with this group.

“We’ve talked toughness,” Crook said, noting that he is in the process of learning who his players are and what they are all about. “Physical toughness, mental toughness. We want to be the dominant force on the field.”

The defense, while more experienced than the offense, may be more of a challenge, for it was among the nation’s worst last year.

Keith Patterson has taken over as defensive coordinator, actually beginning with the Pinstripe Bowl loss, and has been putting things in place since then.

He has a couple of solid linebackers in Doug Rigg and Isaiah Bruce back, along with hard-hitting safety Karl Joseph, while the line will be anchored by Will Clarke.

However, like on offense, much is uncertain and will be worked out in the spring and when the team reports back in August.

“There is no depth chart,” Holgorsen said. “There is open competition at every position.”

As for injuries, a number of players are out of spring or limited.

Wide receiver Dante Campbell had shoulder surgery and won’t be back until June or July while cornerback Terrell Chestnut is out with knee surgery after being hurt in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Linebacker Avery Williams missed last year and is down to do only non-contact drills this spring, as is linebacker Jewone Snow.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Jones uses his attitude to lead Polar Bears

    When you look around the football field come August, you’ll see plenty of new faces for the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears. But there will be at least one very familiar face.
    TJ Jones is one of just a handful of seniors on this year’s Fairmont Senior team, and he’s hoping to go out on top.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • FSU football season tickets available

    Season ticket packages and VIP parking for the 2014 Fairmont State University football season are now available for purchase.
    Several options are available, including the opportunity to purchase a piece of Fairmont State history.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pirates jump on Haren early, top Dodgers, 6-1

    Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped on Dan Haren early in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
    Harrison’s two-run double down the left field line capped a four-run outburst in the first against Haren (8-8).

    July 24, 2014

  • Berner, Hess lead W.Va. Open

    Threatening weather did not strike Wednesday, and it was a cool, breezy start to the 81st West Virginia Open played on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
     

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos