MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two returnees, a sought-after junior college signee, one speedy freshman and a soon-to-arrive transfer who’s projected among the top five running backs in next year’s NFL draft.

WVU athletics

WVU first-year running backs coach JaJuan Seider.

Is JaJuan Seider loving his return to WVU or what?

The Mountaineers’ new running backs coach—hired on March 8, a mere blink before the start of spring practice—now can hardly believe the unit unfolding before his eyes. It’s a group deep with versatility, experience and, perhaps an even more crucial component, drive.

Seider, while joining the crew at MetroNews “Sportsline” on Wednesday evening, said “the biggest thing that I see is some kids with chips on their shoulder.”

He cherishes the chip because it transports him back to his days as a Mountaineers quarterback from 1995-98, when “we weren’t expected to be good so you had to go outwork people.”

Though the next college coach who praises his players’ offseason habits will only be the gazillionth to do so, it appears Seider is genuinely enthused to see his guys working overtime.

“These kids, they live around the stadium and you see them all the time doing extra stuff on their own,” he said.

WVU’s two returning juniors both have starting experience—Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison—and both carried reputations as guys willing to put in the work. Both earned significant playing time as true freshmen and Garrison rehabbed a torn ACL diligently enough to return to action in 10 months.

“You’ve got depth, so if a guy needs a break you can take a guy out and not have to worry about changing play-call. That’s exciting for us on offense.” — WVU running backs coach JaJuanSeider

Add to that mix junior college recruit Dreamius Smith, who chose WVU over Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Kansas, and early enrollee Wendell Smallwood, who spurned offers from Auburn and Tennessee. Then came last week’s midsummer gift: University of Houston transfer Charles Sims, an elusive senior with top-grade receiving skills.

“You’ve got depth, so if a guy needs a break you can take a guy out and not have to worry about changing play-call,” Seider said. “That’s exciting for us on offense.”

The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Smith showed both smash and dash during the Gold-Blue spring game, gaining the corner on one run and dragging tacklers on another.

“He may be the fastest running back (at WVU) and he’s the biggest running back, so he does a lot of things well,” Seider said. “You can tell he’s a junior college player—he picks up things fast.”

“The thing you like about Dreamius is that he comes in and he works. The biggest thing for him is having a summer with (strength coach) Mike Joseph to get his body in the best shape and to understand how to play 12 or 13 games in the Big 12.”

Beyond the ballcarriers, however, Seider reminded fans about the inspiring offseason produced by sophomore H-back Cody Clay, the George Washington High alum.

“He had the best spring out of everybody, and you could put any coach in this chair and he would say the same thing,” Seider said. “He just does everything right, and he does everything hard. Even when he makes a mistake, he goes hard to where you can’t always see his mistake.

“He’s a West Virginia kid and his whole life was to be at this place. Guys saw how he practiced everyday. He cares, and that’s the only way to describe it.”

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  • clair thompson

    Fire Huggins!! you have got to be kidding. Who are you going to kick next? Jerry West, come on. All the hype is just that, let the season play out.

  • jimmy

    chad, your an idiot and rambling man you are just rambling drivel, pick another team if you do not like the hall of fame coach we have

  • big tom

    let's count the losses.... texas, tcu, baylor kstate, okla state ,ttech, okla. with iowa state and kansas a toss up... non conf. only game i am scared to death of is Maryland,,, losing this game could ruin the entire season...
    i see 4-8 or 3-9 season.. shame on me , but how could we do much better,,,at the very best, would be 5-7.and i think we have to be satisfied if we do that well.

    • Sean

      How can you automatically call those games losses? How are Tech and Kstate any better than us at this point? We will NOT lose all of those games, you can bet on that.

  • Dave

    As the season is unfolding, I'm getting more excited about this team. I have a feeling some people are going to be eating crow by seasons end.

  • Art in Ohio

    The last thing you want to do, with a complete change in players, is fire the coach. Give him a few more years and see what happens--I believe you will be surprised and happy with the results.

  • No1WVUFan

    WVU's Offensive Backfield should be loaded this season with: Charles Sims, Dreamius Smith, Mario Alford, Cody Clay, Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie, Will Johnson, Shelton Gibson, Kevin White, Ivan McCartney and others. From the videos I've watch Mario Alford and Sheldon Gibson are probably the fastest of the group. Alford reminds me a little of Tevon Austin with his cuts and speed and he is close to the same size as Tevon.

  • big tom

    why in the world do you want to fire huggins,, just another marsha post... trolls , go home, we want realism on this site, and you don't seem to understand what you're talking about.

  • big tom

    i see a lot of hype ,warrented or not, to sell more tickets,, that's what it's all about,,, revenue.
    but for the team, who knows, this isn't some small time junior college, this is one of the best conf. in the nation.
    let's stop all the bragging right now, and just wait and see,,, last yr was a disaster, and we have three pro picks from offense.
    we have no idea who our qb will be, no idea.
    let's save all the rah rah for opeing day against the powerhouse w and m...LOL
    of all the major colleges, we have the second most softest non conf. schedule..
    \can webeat maryland,, who knows,, they are terrible, but we are too.
    if our running game pans out, it will take pressure off the unknown qb and maybe give him or her time to settle in...
    go eers.

    • Leon

      Can tell the Obama voters comments, They are all negative as hates the USA so they hate WV.

      • zapman

        Everybody I know who voted for him, myself included, loves the US and WV. You need to get your nose out of Faux News butts. It's the raging right wingers who are the negative haters. But that's what right wingers do...they project their own shortcomings on people with different opinions. You like being sodomized by the robber barons? Keep bending over fool.

  • Dabba Do

    If the coaches can combine that talent they have now and get the most out of them, the Mountaineer Offense could turn out to be the Mountaineer Awe-ffense. If the O line can do it's job it could be a very good year. The weak links last year, were the Mountaineer D and the kicking game. When all the parts are able to support each other and do their part to win, the sky is the limit. A lot of ifs, but hey, life evolved in a frog pond in Canaan Valley. Let's Goooooo Newby Mountaineers!

  • Larry Wiseman

    I for one, am getting tired of all the retoric about FIRING HUGGS!! I wish that was all I had to do was set around and bash someone.

    • Big Larry

      Huggins has had five (5) years to fix the problem...How many more does he get?

    • Big John

      Absolutely agree- Huggs is a great coach.

      • big tom

        huggs is the greatest coach ever, he could have any job anywhere and name his price,,, name another coach who makes this kind of money and goes 13-19. i think we should hire him for a lifetime and let him retire when he wants and come to work when he wants...
        go huggs

        • Jim

          You need to get back on your meds very quickly...

      • RamblingMan

        Huggins WAS a good coach, back in the day.
        Nowadays, he is just Otis Campbell in a sweatsuit, or a pullover and khakis.

        (For the trolls who don't know who Otis Campbell is, watch an Andy Griffith Show re-run.)

  • Charleston,WV

    Best of luck to you Mr. Seider! I hope you can churn out much productivity from this talented and experienced group of athletes!

  • Geoff

    Chad, that's simply a stupid statement. Especially after the class he recruited for next season... Idiot!

    • chad

      Are you new to the board???

      • mntrbob

        chad, got the joke, guess others are part time readers. Go Mountaineers!

  • Chef Camille

    On paper these backs are good-- but they play on turf.

    • Wemakerain

      They are the only part of the team I have seen and am 100% confident about on turf, but it won't make any difference if the line doesn't get any push for them

  • Maxxajay

    I like this team the more I read about it. I say they win the three non conference games, 6 in the Big 12..... More to be said..

  • cutty77

    I will say this. Smith is The Real Deal.He's a Man.