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.
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.
RECEIVER IN MOTION
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.”