By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
West Virginia University’s 2013 football season got under way on Thursday, and with more than 100 players, many of them new and many of them the new ones figuring to be getting a great deal of playing time right from the opening gun, there were three exceptions.
Defender Darrien Howard out of Dayton, Ohio. and Chaminade-Julienne, one of the year’s top recruits who probably was going to wind up at defensive end, was not on hand having problems with the clearing house. Also having a clearing house issue was defensive end Isaac McDonald of Hialeah, Fla.
In addition, D’Vonte Henry, a 6-5 linebacker from Moore, Okla., missed the opening workout due to personal issues that coach Dana Holgorsen failed to elaborate on.
Holgorsen said he had not given up on any of them eventually joining the team and that he was going to concentrate on those who were on hand
And there is a lot to concentrate on, although the early day or two of practice are mostly to familiarize players with procedure and technique.
That means, for example, that the quarterback battle between transfer Clint Trickett from Florida State and holdovers Paul Millard and Ford Childress did not yet begin, as had not most of the other competitions.
“Clint looked good, seasoned, like he doesn’t get nervous. You can tell he has game experience,” Holgorsen of Trickett. “But you can see right now when he’s looking for a signal he stares right through me. I’m just watching him operate.”
In fact, that’s what Holgorsen is doing with everyone
“For three days, there will be no consequences for any actions on offense, good plays or bad. When we start getting into situational stuff I’ll start judging.”
Quarterback, of course, is not the only competition. With so many junior college transfers and freshmen coming in, it really could be that WVU could open the season with a group of skilled players who not only weren’t here last year but weren’t here in the spring
Consider Trickett at quarterback, Charles Sims at running back and a group of new JC or freshmen wide receivers winning jobs out of camp.
“It’s college football,” Holgorsen said. “You will lose starters; you lose guys to the NFL. We’re where we’re at right now.”
Another place where a battle is building up is at center between Pat Eger, a converted tackle who was injured in the spring, and Tyler Orlofsy, a redshirt freshman who was listed No 1 on the depth chart coming into camp
Holgorsen also had three punters in camp, much to his surprise, not knowing the third punter. He has veteran Mike Molinari, a 4.0 student who is a veteran, and newcomer Nick O’Toole, whom Holgorsen noted had a big leg.
There is, however, only one placekicker, and that is newcomer Josh Lambert, who Holgorsen is lavish in his praising.
“We feel confident with him,” Holgorsen admitted.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.