Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

In WVU’s loaded backfield, junior Dustin Garrison said he’s adopting the same mindset he carried as a freshman.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s the first day of fall classes at West Virginia, which typically means a wasted day of football practice.

“In my experience, that first day of class and with practice that afternoon, has always been bad,” said Mountaineers receivers coach Lonnie Galloway. “With everybody moving on campus, and boys being boys, you probably lose them for a day before you can rein them back in.”

But head coach Dana Holgorsen suggested now is not the time to squander a practice, not when coaches are assembling the depth chart.

“The first thing is developing a two-deep, which we’re pretty close to,” Holgorsen said. “Once you develop a two-deep, then you can let those guys battle it out for another week before you name starters.”

With Houston transfer Charles Sims pegged as the Big 12’s preseason newcomer of the year and junior college signee Dreamius Smith drawing almost equal attention, Dustin Garrison became a forgotten man during preseason camp.

But that doesn’t scare the junior, who’s fully recovered from the ACL injury he suffered in December 2011.

“I think it’s that same mindset I had as a freshman—once I get my chance, make the most of it,” he said.

Garrison led WVU in rushing as a rookie with 742 yards, appearing in all 12 regular-season games before injuring his knee during practices preceding the Orange Bowl.

A vigorous rehab saw him ready to return for Week 3 of the 2012 season, though he didn’t show quite the same cutting ability. In netting 207 rushing yards as a backup, Garrison’s yards-per-carry dipped to 4.5, a yard less than his freshman output.

Now he’s part of a five-back rotation that includes junior Andrew Buie and Wendell Smallwood, and despite the depth, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson predicted it was unlikely any of them would redshirt.

“All that talent,” Garrison said, “means you’ve just got to make the most you an with the amount of plays you have.”

Allan Taylor/MetroNews

True freshman Shelton Gibson is “still raw” according to West Virginia receivers coach Lonnie Galloway.

True freshman Shelton Gibson stands among the most heralded WVU wide receiver signees of the past decade, one of only three who made Rivals’ top-150 national recruits.

So what’s the early verdict after two-plus weeks of preseason camp?

“Still raw,” Galloway said. “Still learning and still trying to figure out where to go and how to get there.”

Gibson missed the team’s first two practices with a minor knee injury he suffered during summer drills, and according to Galloway, “he’s still trying to catch up.”

That could put Gibson on the cutline for a redshirt season, something the coaches were planning to discuss Sunday and Monday when they projected newcomers’ roles.

“The last thing you want to do is play a kid four or five plays in this game and four or five plays in another game down the road, and then you’ve wasted a whole year,” Galloway said.

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  • john

    This team is going to be better than expected and certainly better than last years team. We certainly don't have QB like last year. And no Tavon Austin, but we are more experienced on the defense, the oline will be better, the running backs are going to be tremendous, and the receivers have very good ability. It wouldn't shock me if this team goes 9-3.

    • Shawn

      Geno was good that's for sure. We will never have another Tavon, thats a guarantee. But like you said we are more experienced on Defense and we are looking to put more pressure on the QB. That's what our D was missing last year.

      Our running backs will be a game changer and it should open up the passing game. And having 6-8 capable receivers is a lot better than 3. It spreads the field and we'll see a big difference this year.

      Also, Joe DeForest is back doing what hes meant to special teams. And the key to a successful season is going to be an improved Special teams unit. Our new punters will stretch the field and give our D some good field position. The D was constantly stuck in poor starting position last year. Our returners will be dynamic and we have the depth that allows for fresh legs on each unit.

      If the coaches can continue to preach TEAM to these kids and get their full potential every week, they could go 9-3. There will be bumps in the road but thats part of football.

      And keep in mind that Baylor, K-State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Kansas are all working with some new meat at QB. Some B12 schools are ironing out new starters in other positions as well. You have to look at schemes in the B12 and I put WVU up there with any of them. Let's Go EERS!!!

    • big tom

      let's place a huge bet on this,, no one seems to want to back up their predictions,,,6-6 at the very best... care to venture a five figure bet/

  • big tom

    u idiots are wanting wvu football to per form miracles and it aint' gonna happen'
    it's gonna take yrs to catch up to the big 12, not one season... give wvu a chance to find out way and then put pressure on us... for now ,we're lucky to be a midpack team

    • Shawn

      We enjoy watching WVU every week unlike you. You're that typical season ticket holder who gets blown up by fans week in and week out. You're the one who boos the team and calls for a coach like Jeff Mullen to come back to WVU. You're a joke!

      • big tom

        little shawnie, you need deleted for this site forever due mainly to your stupidity

        • Shawn

          BOOM! He got me folks. Listen dude, if you're gonna blow me up at least come up with something entertaining. If you want me to write a few things up for you i'll be more than glad.

          • hailey

            Tiny tom, you need to obtain your GED before you post anymore, your vocabulary skills are embarassing. I bet your family is proud, and yes I do want fries with my Big Mac

  • Phil M.

    WVU wins and losses will go like this:

    Wins: Wm/Mary, Ga State, Maryland, K. State, Texas Tech, Texas, Kansas, Iowa St.

    Loses: Oklahoma, Okla. State, Baylor, TCU.

    Could win: Okla. State
    Could lose: K. State

    Record: 8-4
    Play in last Big 12 appearance in the Holiday Bowl vs. Arizona (oh yeah it's Rich Rod )

    • big tom

      wvu losses....kst , ok , ok st, tt Baylor tex ,tcu

      record 4-8 no bowl, fans want dana's head on a block but Ollie says two more yrs

      sorry sports fans , but we will never be more than midpack in the big 12

      • Yogi Wahoo

        Big Gomer you will never be anything but midpack poster.Go watch Springer

      • Harleymick

        Unfortunately, this is a debate that no one can win. Everyone has a right to their, estimations, beliefs and opinions.

        But that's all it is. I sincerely believe this team is very underrated for a multitude of reasons.

        However, nothing you, I or anyone else says, predicts, or prognosticates will change the outcome of a single game.

        It will all be determined on the field of play. If anyone thinks they KNOW the number of wins and losses for this year, I sincerely hope you're also playing the stock market.

      • Shawn

        Sorry guys...Tom wont be anything other than a D-Bag who claims he can see into the future.

        • big tom

          little puke who doesn't now football but tries his best to impress someone,, LOL you've failed once ag ain

          • Shawn

            Ol' Tom...once again your comments make no sense. It's ok...we've all come to realize you really have nothing important to say. Good luck with your negative outlook on life.

  • The Ayatollah of Rockin' Rolla

    West Virginia will beat: W & M, Georgia St, Maryland, Kansas and Iowa St.

    We get two weeks to prepare for Tech, so they need to beat the red raiders.

    Texas was the only team whose defense was worse than ours. That game is at home, so we need to win that one.

    Finally, we need to win one more out of: @OU, @OSU, @Baylor, @KSU and @TCU. If we do that, we get to 8 wins, 9 wins if we win our bowl game.

    • jfk

      hold your head up!,,,higher!!!

  • Carl

    Everyone still whines about the defense....holgs has made changes so how bout waiting till they've played a few games to see how the defense is...all u armchair coaches need to shut the heck up and quick acting like you know everything

    • Shawn

      Dear Carl,

      Love Your Work!


  • WVU07

    How about fixing the defense coach?

  • robert hamrick

    stick with buie and garrison for now. I still think garrison is the most underated and under appreciated back we have. I also understand the injury bug also of mentally and physically being back at 100. I say lets give him the chance, he's earned it.

  • cutty77

    you bet Dana will draw it out who the starting QB is. Really what difference does it make.

  • chris

    WVU hasn't played a game yet some of you are giving up on them already i'm here to tell you WVU will be better than people think and Shelton Gibson is going to be a great one hes shown flashes already so calm down.

    • big tom

      Gibson isn't even on the two deep,, count him as a redshirt

      • Chet Ubetcha

        This is based off your assumption on a depth chart that hasn't been released yet? He may very well redshirt but so did Stedman Bailey his freshman year, a redshirt isn't an indication of a lack of talent, but the presence of depth.

        • big tom

          it simply indicates you're not ready for primetime cause you can't grasp the offense or you simply need more time in the weight room

  • big tom

    consider, this, we are not going to beat Baylor or texas this yr.. and Maryland in my estimation is a toss up/
    so , losing 6 games is the least we'll do,,, dana has to realize that he must emphasize def. def. def.
    realistic, we don't go to a bowl.. maybe in 2015

    • Ragweed

      May be better than what most expect.

    • Shawn

      WVU wins 8.

      William & Mary
      Georgia State
      Texas Tech
      Iowa State

      • Cliff w

        WVU will have a team that's head and shoulders better than last year. These QBs will have something Geno didn't have until the OU game, a running game. Teams will have to respect the run and can't drop some many people back I.E. Texas Tech and K-State. If the defense can put just a touch more pressure on the QBs then our defense will succeed. 8-4 is the worst will do maybe even top 3 in the conference. Depth means a lot, and we have it

        • hailey

          Tiny Tom,you are quite the internet tough say put your money where your mouth is,so you are willing to put your entire McDonald's paycheck on a football game?

      • big tom

        let's put some money on your list,,, real money, I can meet you in Motown anytime for thebet,,
        we don't beat texas, ttu, those are for sure,, Maryland game will determine our season

        • Shawn

          Do me a favor and stay out of Mo-town because the last thing we need is another D-Bag polluting our season.

          • big tom

            everyone listens to me but little pukes like you who only think they know football... get a grip puke and grow up before you run your mouth and show the world that yes, you are really really stupid.

          • big tom

            u can't handle the truth

        • big tom

          I left out kstate, we lose th ere also

          • Shawn

            You speak BS about 99.9 percent of the time and nobody on here really respects your opinion. If you were more of a positive fan instead of downing the team then maybe ppl would cut you slack on here. None of us really know whats going to happen this season so i guess its best to wait and see. I just wish you would head on over to the Marshall articles and give us all an early Christmas present.

  • jfk

    still no "two deep" ?

  • Shawn

    I guarantee the coaches and players already know who the QB is gonna be and Holgs is just playing games with the media. He's going to stretch it as far as he can. I dont blame him one bit.

    • William

      The deal was done when Trickett left FSU that he would be the starting Quarterback. He was told if he comes to WVU, then he would be the STARTING QUARTERBACK

      • Shawn

        Ok Youngin'! William knows all and should be rewarded by allowing him to be banned from this site.

      • Chet Ubetcha

        No he wasn't, you need to update your clip board you cut and paste from.

  • tw eagle

    i'm certain coach holgerson's staff will have a drill that pulls the teams heads out of the clouds and back to football reality . . .Gibson was rated so high for what reason ? apparently he has NO football smarts . . .or maybe seeing himself playing outside , he's
    ditching the inside job ? there's plenty of
    talent in the receiving crew , the only thing
    he'll be ditching will be his scholarship . . .good luck elsewhere, you never move UP . . .

    • WVWho

      With the Juco wideouts the best case is for him to red shirt. Gives him 4 years to be a starter and see 1st team reps in practice while having this year to put on a few lb's and learn the playbook.

    • mauldawg

      tw eagle Are you insane or just don't know anything about football. I understand why you know nothing about football,you have been an MU fan all your life. People like you are something else.

      • tw eagle

        no , not insane . . .but easily more able to grasp what is happening to shape a football team than you are . . .coaches will never diss a player publicly . . .and all the accolades a recruit brings in to a school means diddly squat if he won't "get the program" . . .it's spelled TEAM . . .bringing in a player from another position is a diss , and lauding that player is a MAJOR diss . . .like carswell at alabammy , this recruit thinks the program exists just for him to look good . . .I expect the coaching staff to be nice and redshirt this kid . . .if he doesn't shape up in spring ball , he'll be GONE . . .

    • Shawn

      Where are you getting this from? This kid has loads of talent but it takes some kids a little longer to pick it up. He was hurt for a couple days and that takes reps away. He's playing catch up and if they have to redshirt then its best for the team and for Gibson.

  • George

    Nah....that is next Monday

  • Maxxajay

    I though we would know who the starting Q-B would be this morning....