With the West Virginia football team a mere three days away from the conclusion of fall camp, Head Coach Dana Holgorsen addressed the media Thursday for the final time before William and Mary game week.
The head coach said the Mountaineers had completed 16 practices through the course of three weeks, focusing primarily on situational work and weeding out the depth chart in recent days. Although camp is nearly over, Holgorsen alluded to many position battles spread across the board, but is hoping to have a bulk of the starters settled when camp concludes on Saturday.
"We're close to getting a two-deep depth chart," Holgorsen said, alluding to the fact that he would "start to get a little nervous" if they did not have one set up by then.
Although the Mountaineers hope to have this two-deep depth chart set up, that does not mean competition should fall at any level, with some positional battles continuing through the first game week.
With all eyes on the quarterback competition, Holgorsen also said he is almost ready to name a starter. The coach will wait until the end of fall camp Saturday to make a decision, but he is confident one will finally win out.
"I anticipate by the end of practice on Saturday, being 100 percent sure of the direction we're going to go," Holgorsen said.
While he did mention the quarterback race, Holgorsen did not drop any hints as to the frontrunner, saying there are still three days left in camp and plenty of things can still happen on the field.
In other positional battles, Coach Holgorsen echoed the sentiments of Coach Shannon Dawson from an interview earlier this week regarding the performance at inside receiver. Holgorsen mentioned that the coaching staff is working to move some guys to the inside in order to find the right match at the position.
"We've got to get guys in there we like and we trust," Holgorsen said.
The coach was not keen on making any excuses about the recent performance of the inside group; however, he did mention that recent injuries and young players currently at the position is probably the reason for the slow progress.
Holgorsen also mentioned that freshman Daikiel Shorts has been moved into the inside position for today's practice. In the past few weeks, Cody Clay, Garrett Hope and Elijah Wellman have also had opportunities inside.
With a talented corps of running backs at his disposal, Holgorsen also said he is not against moving one of his rushers to the inside slot at times, even experimenting with it in recent days with Andrew Buie, Dustin Garrison and, most impressively, Charles Sims.
"Charles Sims could be our best inside receiver right now, pretty easily," Holgorsen said.
The coach continued to praise the versatility Sims brings to the team, saying that he is fun guy to and a very well-rounded player. Still, Holgorsen said Sims cannot do it all on his own, and other guys need to step up in the positions.
"There's only one of (Sims)," Holgorsen said. "We can't clone him."
The inside receiver position also opened up recently due to the departure of Connor Arlia. Arlia, along with fullback Will Johnson, has not been seen at recent practices, and Holgorsen confirmed Thursday that they have left the team.
"They're great kids," Holgorsen said. "They just want to play so I'll release them anywhere they want to go."
Holgorsen also confirmed the arrival of freshman Isaac McDonald. After undergoing recent issues with the NCAA Clearinghouse, WVSports.com reported Monday that the NCAA had cleared McDonald. Holgorsen said the freshman should be on campus Friday.
Injuries also continue to hamper playing time for many Mountaineers, but Coach Holgorsen said few are really serious. Offensive lineman Adam Pankey will continue to sit out until October, continuing to recover from a knee injury.
At today's practice, receiver Kevin White, along with linebackers Wes Tonkery and Jared Barber will don green jerseys due to shoulder injuries. Coach Holgorsen said these injuries are just tweaks, due to hard hitting on the field recently, and should not be of much concern going forward. Receivers Dante Campbell and Jordan Thompson, who have also been limited recently due to injuries, have been progressing well and might be out of the green jerseys as early as today.
The Mountaineers will begin their 17 practice today at 5pm. WVSports.com will be on hand with full coverage.