MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — When it came to naming West Virginia’s fastest receiver, Ivan McCartney didn’t blink.

Allan Taylor/MetroNews

Junior college transfer Mario Alford is WVU’s fastest receiver—and the fastest player on the team—according to Ivan McCartney.

“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.”

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.”

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  • Raymond

    Come on people, lets let the coaches, and players deside who plays or don't play.

    We have the talent at skill positions. It's up to the coaches, and whether the players communicate as to how this team performs. I myself think we will do better than people are saying, if we communicate, and play as a team, and not individuals!

  • Helen5844

    I would like to see a little of each. In the National Championship game, Notre Dame started out throwing three in a row. Then they sat down so Alabama could go back down the field and score their second TD. Alabama threw some and they ran some. Can't win by doing the same thing every play.
    Our O wasn't the problem it was our D. It was also some of the guys ego's. Has to be a team effert. Then we also had a RB that rode the bench for six weeks with a bruise. Now that takes the cake. Lets gooooo Mountaineers

    • farm kid

      the offence was the problem did not score enough points. check the TT score the wind got into geno's head. TCU game could not kick a field to win. geno was the problem but he was the best we had.

  • Leonard Blush

    @Brian, you failed to note that unclec used "Its" instead of "It's."

  • Matt Dubois

    The way I see it the more we run,and the more clock we control, the more the defense will be off the field and that is a win. We are going to lose every shoot out if we score as fast as we did last year. Ask Alabama how controlling the clock works for them.

  • unclec

    Its not how fast you run or who the qb is. Its scoring points and stopping the other team from scoring. Give me 11 who want to play as a team not an I player. We also have to support the team and not be band wagon fans. Go eers.

  • Brian

    When comparing more than two things, or in this case describing a race involving more than two people, among is the correct word, not between.

    • wvbeta1610

      Thanks for the quick lesson on proper if we could get the illegals to speak any English we would be in fine shape. I did not know we needed a Thesaurus to post on a sports site.

    • Allan Taylor

      @Brian: Because I never take a language-usage comment lightly, much obliged. Yet I was taught the rigidity of rules governing between/among has softened. Used Google to verify or refute my remembrance of this and found a snippet from the "The Cambridge Guide to English Usage" in 2004: "It is not uncommon for between to be used in expressions referring to more than two groups or reference points, as in 'a balance between deference, quotation and his own critical comment.' But among is still reserved for situations where there are at least three parties involved."

      • Brian

        This, combined with today's news that the definition of the word "literally" has been modified, leads me to believe when people can't learn to use the language correctly, it's the language that must change. I disapprove.

    • hailey

      Thanks for the lesson now I understand the story, I was totally confused.

      • Bottom Feeder

        whew.....I was befuddled as well. Glad Brain was there to set everyone straight.

  • cutty77

    All I want to see is Run,Run,Run. If we can do that. Bozo The Clown Can Be QB. LOL

    • Les

      If all we do is run, run, run,.......we will lose, lose, lose.... I like to see some run but in todays game, its all about throwing it down the field.....or in last years case, throwing it 2 or 3 yards to someone who can take it down the field

      • cutty77

        Very Simple Wes. WVU ran the the ball the first of the year last year.5 an 0 Then Shawn Alston got hurt,you know the rest of the story. If you can't run you can't win.PERIOD.

  • JAS

    Being "even" in practice doesn't equate to being even in live game action. And theres only one who has that. Gimme that guy.

  • John weaver

    Virginia tech has at least 80 players who run a sub 4.4 every year. Don't believe me ask ESPN because they always spew reliable information from the tech SID every year. Funny how these tech speedsters never run fast in the NFL.

  • Shawn

    You're not going to getting any useful news because Holgs isnt letting anything out of the bag. Smart coaching leads to bad reporting for these guys. They have no material to write on. I like it!

  • ffejbboc

    If the QBs are all dead even, then you go with the youngest guy -- Childress.

  • Patrick

    Yeah maybe a little lol. I'd just like a little useful sports news from theses guys that's all.

    • OhMy

      Only 3 paragraphs of the entire story was about "the fastest"!

  • JeremyB

    Don't read it then Patrick.

  • Fain

    Bad case of the Mondays Patrick?

  • Patrick

    Who cares..we had the fastest player in the country last year and still only won 7 games. Write something worth reading about.

    • Bobby M

      Sounds like SOMEONE has a case of the negative nellies! Light up friend! I dont think we'll win 8+ games this year but at this moment anything is possible! We'll know much more after we play the Maryland game! Until then we might pull a FEW suprises! (But it will depend on that defense. Thats THE question mark this year!)

    • DWM


      I actually found this interesting. Learning stuff about guys we have never heard of before that we will root for in a couple weeks is worthwhile. Much better than getting a program and having to figure out who all those guys are.

    • Steve

      Man, chill, you guys are so full of crap when you get on here it gets old. Let these guys have a little fun and relax. If your that uptight go get a beer. Forget the Mountaineers and go watch a hockey game or go fishing.

      • sidewayssam

        A beer would taste good. Thanks, I will be right back.