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August 5, 2013
Competition is something that head coach Dana Holgorsen wants to continue to see throughout the duration of fall camp with the Mountaineers running as many as three and four deep at spots across the roster.
Over the weekend, West Virginia ended its first partially padded practice with energy and will head into full pads Tuesday as the players adjust to wearing them once again after a long-lay off from the spring.
Because of the sheer numbers of players competing for spots, Holgorsen said there have been great battles across the board early into camp and there are no spots sewn up. In fact, the coaching staff is looking to foster even more competition in the meeting rooms during the early stages of camp, and Holgorsen pointed to the running backs as evidence and the experience the group has at the college level.
"We're trying to get competitive rooms," he said.
To go along with that, Holgorsen wants to find and develop players to be leaders, something the Mountaineers had "issues," with a season ago, although the head man declined to elaborate further.
Along the offensive line, Holgorsen said that competition level I strong and even with a temporary depth chart released by some of the players earlier this week, that is still very much in a stage of adjustment.
Pat Eger and Nick Kindler continue to challenge for a spot in the starting rotation, which will only create more depth, while the center position remains a three-way battle between Tony Matteo, Tyler Orlosky and Stone Underwood.
One position that isn't as deep in terms of experience at this stage is safety, where West Virginia returns Karl Joseph and Darwin Cook, along with K.J. Dillon, but will need many of the younger players to step up in order to help the group. And through one padded practice, it's far too early to make that call.
The Mountaineers have went through their first set of installing the offense and Holgorsen said that while it didn't look crisp by any means, he has been pleased by the communication between the players. Much of the same can be said for the defense as well.
The Mountaineers aren't expected to do any live settings until they go through the installation process again, but in the meantime the coaches will be paying close attention to how the players run the plays.
"We have a lot of bodies that need to get narrowed down to a two deep and then it has to get narrowed down even further," he said.
Holgorsen said that he has not heard anything new on the three scholarship players not in camp. Both true freshmen linebacker Darrien Howard and safety Isaac McDonald have clearinghouse issues, while junior college linebacker d'Vante Henry is dealing with personal ones.
Big 12 Officials will be offering a presentation to the Mountaineers this afternoon discussing the rule changes, highlighting targeting.
West Virginia NEWS