Holgorsens Take: Alabama
West Virginia will open the season in the Georgia Dome in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic and the Mountaineers don't need any reminders of the caliber of team they will be matched up against Saturday.
Alabama has been one of the perennial powers in college football since the arrival of Nick Saban and while they will have a new starter at quarterback, the skill positions will be experienced and the defense figures to be one of the better in the country.
"A lot has been made about the quarterback spot. Too much has been made," said head coach Dana Holgorsen. "Two guys that will be able to run their offense."
Regardless who starts, neither quarterback has an abundance of film and while one is more athletic, Holgorsen doesn't expect much difference depending on who gets the call.
While the Crimson Tide are dealing with some changes on the offensive side of the football with new coordinator Lane Kiffin, West Virginia has experienced their own changes on the defensive side with Tony Gibson elevating to coordinator. Both teams however, will likely look very similar on those respective sides of the football.
"It's not a whole sale change," he said.
Holgorsen said that his team is "fired up," about the opportunity to take on the Crimson Tide and overall the program is in a much better position than it was a season ago.
"I think it's night and day. If you just look at the overall numbers I think we are better at every position. We are working with 85 scholarship players for the first time in four-years," he said. "We're not having to march out 10-15-20 freshmen out there."
One of the freshmen that will see playing time is Dravon Henry and while he was listed first on the newly released depth chart, remains in a competition with sophomore Jeremy Tyler.
"You forget he's a freshman. He's the only freshman that we're having this conversation about," he said.
Still even with the impact Henry has made throughout camp especially with being consistent, Holgorsen reiterated that you never know how a player will react when thrust into a college football game and there are 70,000 plus in the stands.
The head coach reminded the media once again that regardless of who gets the start, it will come own to which players at any position are able to get the most snaps.
West Virginia will be without the services of Ishmael Banks and right now the battle to fill that spot will be Terrell Chestnut and Travis Bell. Chestnut has shown an understanding of the defense and is healthy, while Bell has been as good as he's been during Holgorsen's tenure.
Regardless of who gets the start, Holgorsen hinted that the Mountaineers could shadow Amari Cooper with Daryl Worley throughout the game.
The head coach said that he feels good about the depth on the offensive line but each of them will have concerns over experience level in actual games.
As far as coaching alignments, West Virginia will put offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson in the press box along with offensive graduate assistant Chris Hannon while on the defensive side cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell will be in the press box as well as defensive graduate assistant Anthony Leonard while either Tom Bradley or Damon Codgell will join them.
Holgorsen said that around 80 players will travel to the Georgia Dome, while 70 will travel once the restrictions set in for the sixth game.
Jaylon Myers is working at cornerback and will likely see some snaps at special teams Saturday.
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