August 27, 2012

WVSports.com Q&A 8/27/12

After seeing some of fall camp, is depth going to be an issue and if so, at what position (I think we all agree DL is a concern)?

I think there will always be an issue with depth on good teams, because Holgorsen demands execution at all times. It is a team that believes in results not through luck or skill, but repetitions and trust in the system. Does he have 8 wide receivers, or 9 defensive linemen right now? No, he'll say. But the talent is there. If the athletes continue to develop like they have this spring, then the team will be deep everywhere but DL by the Baylor game. They will be mixing-and-matching at times until then, hoping for an impactful rotation among the wide-outs and defensive line, with the receivers a luxury and the linemen a necessity. Linebacker will be another position where depth is an issue. The players are more plentiful than the defensive line, but no true impact backer exists outside of Terence Garvin. Thus, a play-maker is needed here, both as a rusher and a pass-coverage specialist. But defensive line coach Erik Slaughter came out of fall camp impressed with the progression he saw out of his BUCK linebackers and believes all three players bring different skill sets to the table.

Is Sticks still behind Nehlen on the WR depth chart?

During last Thursday's final run through, Nehlen received his opportunities before McCartney. That is an unofficial indication of rank, whether the coaches admit it or not. Ask a player off the record that order in drills doesn't matter and they'd nix that. But both players have the challenge of playing behind J.D. Woods on the outside, as the senior has taken the reigns in his final go-around and has currently cemented himself among the starters. Expect both Nehlen and McCartney to see the field, but just how much remains to be seen.

How does Childress look?

It's hard to tell. Much better than Spring but he doesn't have the comfort level that Millard has after a year in the system. The plan during spring drills was to attempt to redshirt Childress and that was reiterated during fall camp after speaking with quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital. The competition between Millard and Childress will heat up next spring after the graduation of Geno Smith, but for now he's best served spending the year redshirting.

First question: 13 commitments in the 2013 class so far and no defensive linemen.....lots of wide receivers and running backs, though.....any ideas if and when some dl's are added to the list?

How about a big DT from Florida? The commitment of Rivals.com four-star Orange Park (Fla.) defensive lineman De'Asian Richardson is a nice start for the Mountaineers 2013 efforts along the defensive front. There will obviously be more defensive line commits joining the class before signing day but you probably won't see many names added to the list until some prospects make their way into Morgantown for official visits. Some names to keep an eye on are Miami (Fl.) Paul James, Baltimore (Md.) Marvin Gross, Jacksonville (Fla.) Mandarin defensive tackle Kinglsey Opara, Loxahatchee (Fla.) Seminole Ridge defensive lineman Kyle Shortridge, West Mesquite (Tx.) Dimarya Mixon and Canton (Oh.) McKinley defensive end Antoine Miles, among others.

Levi Cook status? Anymore in 2013? Thanks.

As far as Cook is concerned his ties to the program could not be stronger and he will always have someone pushing for WVU in his ear. They are his No. 1 school easily at this moment. But you must remember this is a kid who will graduate high school in 2015. The allure of programs recruiting you, particularly historical powerhouses such as Duke and Kansas, is unimaginable and something he needs to explore. Levi knows he is wanted by Coach Huggins, and will be reminded of that by those that he trusts. Don't worry if he gushes about colleges in other interviews or desires new visits; the Mountaineers are in pole position.

I think you will see another commitment in the class of 2013, but the question remains on who exactly it will be? One prospect that recently picked up an offer from the Mountaineers is Brandon (Fla.) power forward Demetrius Henry and while he's open in his recruiting at this point, is interested in the Mountaineers. A reclassified prospect from 2012, he doesn't expect to make a decision until late. Other prospects left on the board is Hackensack (N.J) power forward Reggie Cameron and Omaha (Ne.) power forward Akoy Agau.

How many official visitors we looking at for Marshall game? Anyone uncommitted definitely coming?

We are currently putting together a list of 2013 commits and prospects that will be in town for the noon kick off against Marshall. While we could list a ton of guys who have said they are coming in that weekend we all understand that prospects tend to decide when they are coming before talking to the coaches. You should see more updates in the coming week or so informing you who will be in for official visits, but one player that had scheduled a visit for Marshall that will be visiting later is Sicklerville (N.J) Timber Creek running back Zaire Williams. He will now be coming in for the Maryland game instead.

Is Ryan Clarke expected to get any carries this year? Or strictly blocking? Thanks!

It will be tough for Clarke to get the amount of carries he deserves, but he's been mentioned as a ball carrier in the spring and that only carried over into the fall. Coach Gillespie praised his running ability and development this spring, especially in short-yardage scenarios. But Shawne Alston provides a near-replica of Clarke's power with a more-sure carry and a speed increase. Even if Dustin Garrison redshirts, Andrew Buie will be the first change-of-pace from Alston. D'Vontis Arnold, the freshman walk-on from Miramar, has been praised by Gillespie as well. A simple question, however, may provide an answer: why run Clarke when he makes everyone running behind him better? But I think it's safe to assume through both Clarke's and the coaching staff's comments that No. 32 will tote the rock a little this fall.

What's going on with Francis is he going to be an impact player or an after thought

Josh Francis has been a very good player on kick-off coverage but continues to disappear during scrimmage drills, according to all accounts and our brief glimpses. He will still have opportunities as that true pass-rusher has not ascended. He needs to turn it on when his chance comes up in a game, as it will be a positional winner-take-all for playing time. He was recently praised by Erik Slaughter for his development on fitting the run and catching up on the mental side of things, because physically he's very prepared. It will be interesting to watch how everything comes together and if Francis will be able to realize the mountains of potential that at this point has went untapped.

How is baseball recruiting going with the new staff?

The program added 19 newcomers last week. You can view those here: Baseball Release This is something WVSports.com is continuing to address and will hope to have more in the near future.

Will Johnson is repping at the true tight end position but also at the same inside receiver position as Jordan Thompson. With JD Woods moving to outside receiver, is it safe to assume that we will see Johnson at inside receiver at times this season? Have you heard if Johnson is being used in specific situations? Has he been getting any deep patterns?

Will Johnson has looked fluid and probably has the edge over Clay at this point. Holgorsen isn't a fan of five-receiver sets, but what Johnson can bring is a power-guise in a 3-or-4 wide grouping. Think of Tavon and Stedman manning flanks, while Johnson aligns in the slot for a Clarke-Alston backfield. Power and Speed. Holgorsen's favorite deep route out of the slot is a hitch-in followed by a corner. The hitch-in lets a receiver cut his deep-in off to a stop if he's in space. Johnson is 6-foot-7, he helps there. Same on a corner, where Johnson can adjust to lobs easier, as he has more of a direct-screen in front of the corner. Now, can Johnson coordinate his leap and hands like that? I have no idea, but he was a very athletic pass catcher in high school. Watching how the staff utilizes him will be something that we'll be paying very close attention to.

Dante Campbell is listed in the two deep as a Y-inside receiver behind Tavon. Campbell is obviously a different type of receiver than Tavon. Do you think Travares Copeland, who is more of a "Tavon-type" will see the field as Tavon's back up at the Y-receiver this season?

Copeland should play, but I expect you'll see many receivers on the field. The fact is that reserves in the depth chart should be ignored, as far as receivers. Holgorsen mixes and matches. He wants them to know a lot of responsibilities. That knowledge makes the receiver more valuable to Holgorsen, as Smith can trust you at different spots, and other athletes can get rests more frequently. Remember, 50-to-60 drop backs require many yards worth of routes, a tiring proposition.

Is Tavon going to return punts and is he approaching when to fair catch, return , or let it roll differently than la st year?

When I asked Austin the one thing he worked on during the off-season to become a better player in 2012, it was the only thing he mentioned. The senior spent a lot of time working on becoming a better player fielding punts and admittedly took some of the mishaps from a season ago to heart. He spent plenty of time fielding them during the summer in hopes of helping him judge the kicks to get his timing down this fall, and the dynamic athlete believes he will be ready to contribute even more in the area this season.

I think it's safe to assume that when Darwin Cook returns from injury he will go back to being the starter at strong safety. Who will be the next player in at safety if Cook goes out, Matt Moro or KJ Dillon?

Moro has done everything well since he arrived last year and seems to have earned his teammates' adoration. But, Dillon could very well unseat him at some point this season, if not the first game. He's too good not to. Moro, however, could play some in three safety sets, serving as a flat defender or spy as he often did in the spring game. He's a good defender in traffic but Dillon is an athletic specimen that saw time with the first team unit during camp due to injuries to those in front of him including Moro.



 

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