MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — During the final segment of Thursday’s media viewing session, West Virginia once again scrimmaged “good-on-good.” And once more, quarterback Clint Trickett took reps with the first-team offense.

Reporters also got their first glimpse at a package that simultaneously utilized Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith in the backfield. Though WVU deployed it as a three-receiver set, Sims clearly has the versatility to move into the slot as the fourth receiver.

Earlier in the day, in fact, coach Dana Holgorsen mentioned Sims “could be our best inside receiver right now.”

Other noteworthy moments from the scrimmage included junior college transfer Mario Alford being targeted frequently and linebacker-turned-fullback Garrett Hope making a nice grab against tight coverage.

Allan Taylor/WVMetroNews

West Virginia middle linebacker Jared Barber was healthy again and working with the first-string defense on Thursday.

The only defensive lineup change from the depth chart cobbled together watching Monday’s scrimmage was Jared Barber replacing Nick Kwiatkoski at one middle linebacker spot. Senior Doug Rigg remained the first-teamer at the other middle position, though Sean Walters also took some snaps with the No. 1 unit.

Mere hours after Holgorsen revealed that newcomer Daikiel Shorts would shift from outside receiver into the slot, the true freshman was lining up with the first-team offense in its four-wide package.

“You do not move guys unless you are displeased with what you are looking at,” said Holgorsen, echoing Wednesday’s criticism of the inside receivers from offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.

The crew of slot receivers includes true freshmen who weren’t here for spring drills (Shelton Gibson and Jacky Marcellus), returnees who have been injured (Dante Campbell and Jordan Thompson) and redshirt freshmen who are still developing (Devonte Mathis and Vernon Davis).

“I have excuses for each and every one of those guys,” Holgorsen said, “but none of us want to hear them. We need to get guys in here that we trust and like.

“We are not discouraging them. With that said, we play a game in two weeks and we have to get guys ready to play.”

After 16 preseason practices, Holgorsen and his staff have a sense for which true freshmen can contribute right away. Along with Shorts, the coach predicted playing time for cornerback Daryl Worley, middle linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton, safety Jeremy Tyler and running back Wendell Smallwood.

Though Smallwood figured to be running fifth on the crowded depth chart at running back, Holgorsen said the Wilmington, Del., recruit “has looked really good at times.”

Holgorsen added that he would “be shocked if Daryl Worley didn’t have a big role on defense or special teams” and described Benton as “a 250-pound mature kid that has shown some signs of life.”

Along with releasing a spate of day-to-day injuries, Holgorsen said linebacker Jewone Snow “is probably year-to-year.”

The supremely talented and perpetually damaged junior missed most of last season with a bad shoulder, and now he’s ailing again with an undisclosed injury.

“It seems like (Snow) always has something wrong,” Holgorsen said, “and I am not sure if he will ever get back.”

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  • Sam

    I was afraid Smallwood, a talented player, would transfer because he would have to wait too long to get on the field. With the new depth chart, I see that's not the case. Buie appears to be No. 5, while Smallwood is No.2, behind Sims.

    This article might have been better retitled Sims and Smallwood in the same backfield.

  • Frank Boso

    Bringing in a bunch of JUCOs will eventually hurt recruiting. Who wants to "wait their turn" for 2-3 years and see a "johnny come lately" transfer take their slot? I know it's competetive but it has to have limits.

  • Harpers Ferry

    Stop traffic! Another story on the WVU Offense. Either the writers at Metronews know nothing about Defense, or our Defense is so bad (again) that they don't want to write about it. It doesn't matter if the Offense puts up 70 points a game if you give up 80 on Defense.

  • big tom

    we are lucky to have dana,,, medocrity,, hu mmmm ,, without stews recruits , where are we,,, 7-6 and beaten by syracuse, in the toilet bowl.
    get real,, this is dana's yr to improve or get out of dodge,
    i say, our def. is just a little better,\
    come on dana, coach the whole team

  • chris

    Watching the videos Trickett is the most in command definitely the starter.

  • Shawn Thomas

    The people that quit coming to games is one reason we have trouble getting big name coaches. We are lucky to have Coach Holgerson. Your not a fan when you quit on your team nor is that a characteristic of WV people. Crazy when a school with a sex scandal can put more fans in the seats than we (WVU) can.

  • big tom

    holgie wants out,, so he wants big time offense to see to nfl teams on his abilities to generate offense.

    he's still whining about additional practice facilities, outdoors and in... nothing is good enough for this guy,,
    we're spending millions on upgrades and he just gripes more..
    sorry dana, i really was glad when you took the job,,, but you fail to realize that you are the head coach of all phases of the game , not just offense.
    i project that in two yrs, if he stays, our def. will be worse than last yr...

    • mauldawg

      big tom Don't you ever shut up. You have no clue about WVU football. Just go back to your might herd. You know the team that is 0-12 against WVU the flagship school of WV.

  • Mossman

    I love people that think that they are truly smarter tha Coach Holgs, I find it very funny.


    • Maxxajay

      @ Mossman .i agree with you....

      • big tom

        it doesn't take much

  • BigBadJohnHenry

    The problem is, the O-line cannot block the defenders. They hold back the defensive rush about as well as a window screen holds back water. Net result, a 5-7 record.

    • Truth Teller

      LittleJohn sounds like a Marshall fan. How about
      beating WVU before taking crap.

  • big tom

    i think dana is making a huge mistake moving players for off to def... he continues to want his off to shine but his memory of last yr and our terrible def. seems to have escaped him..
    if he hasn't learned his lesson yet, it will never happen
    if our def. shows no improvement and loses more games, fans will just quit coming to games
    who in the world wants to watch a repeat of last yr...that made me sick.

    • Truth Teller

      Little tom you are not the sharpest tool in your tool box are you. Do you know there is a conference called the SEC? Did you know they put their most athletic players on defense? That is why the SEC teams have great defenses. Maybe it is you that is making the big mistake by even opening your big mouth when you don't know anything. Just watch the games and keep your stupidity to yourself little tom.

    • Big Larry


      The priority has always been offense under Holgorsen. Always has been, always will be.That is why they recruit 2 offensive players to every 1 defensive player. Then if they don't pan out, they are switched over to defense.

      That is a reason why the defense will never be worth a flip.

      It is what it is...

    • Wemakerain

      Are you criticizing a coach for moving a 4th string linebacker that wouldn't play anyways? Gives the guy a chance to play and contribute on special teams, while allowing Wellman to redshirt since Johnson is transferring. It's the only reasonable decision

  • tony

    as I said before ..with coach saying that the improvement of ford and paul is "not making our job any easier" tells me that the starter is trickett.

    • cutty77

      No let Trickett start,so we can all get this over with. It will sort itself out believe me.

    • big tom

      huge mistake

  • cutty77

    Smith The Runing Back is The Real Deal.He is a Man.

  • BigDave

    I think this team is going to do better than people expect. IF the defense is improved quite a bit. I guess the bright side is it can't be much worse.

    • Bobby M

      And as they say Friend when IT rains IT pours!