MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — When it came to naming West Virginia’s fastest receiver, Ivan McCartney didn’t blink.
“Mario Alford,” said McCartney, busting the stereotype of receivers typically favoring themselves. “I ain’t going to lie. He can have it.
“He’s the fastest on the whole team. A flash. Man, that kid can run.”
Alford, the transfer from Georgia Military College, is among several newcomers who have yet to be granted media access by head coach Dana Holgorsen. Another is Ronald Carswell, the signee from Itawamba Community College who is working with McCartney at outside receiver.
“Ronnie is very enthusiastic. He’s teachable, coachable, runs great routes,” McCartney said. “Those guys have come along way.”
Four-star freshman Shelton Gibson, after missing the first two practices of preseason camp with a knee injury, has progressed from merely running routes to participating in full-contact situations.
“He’s eager, he plays hard, runs hard,” said WVU receivers coach Lonnie Galloway. “Now we’ve jut got to polish him up.”
Galloway hasn’t dropped any hints about the depth chart other than to admit some players are beginning to separate themselves now that WVU’s offense has moved toward practicing game situations.
“The thing in these situations is to see how they’re reacting,” Galloway said. “Normally in those situations we try not to mess with them and see what they’re going to do—like being able to recognize whether it’s zone coverage or man coverage.
“We’ll start dwindling it down so that the guys that are getting it, get more reps.”
CLOSE RACE AT QB
Receivers obviously have up-close viewpoints on which quarterback should be starting, but McCartney swears the race involving Paul Millard, Ford Childress and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett is too tight to call.
“Out of all the positions, I feel like that’s going to be the hardest decision to make,” McCartney said. “It’s very even. All of them have a nice zip, good accuracy, smart with the ball. That’s a hard one there.”
Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson would prefer to settle on a starter before the end of the week—after all, the season opens in a mere 19 days. But Galloway said his group needs to be ready regardless of which quarterback gets the nod.
“It doesn’t matter who’s throwing the ball — as long as he’s throwing it in the right spot we have to catch it,” Galloway said. “You build a relationship with timing and all that, but it’s our job to catch the football no matter who’s throwing it.”