MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Throughout summer sessions and two weeks of preseason camp, assistant Tyron Carrier saw the potential for West Virginia’s receivers to be as tough-minded as they are dynamic.
Then Saturday showed him the flip side.
Struggling to find separation against a retooled secondary, WVU’s wideouts produced no touchdowns and recorded only four catches of 20-plus yards in a scrimmage that featured more than 100 snaps. The Mountaineers’ top three quarterbacks, displaying accuracy issues of their own, combined for 21-of-53 passing.
“We’ve got a lot of talent, but this is the first really bad day that I’ve seen from them,” Carrier said. “With the performance today, we couldn’t beat a D-anything school. It was flat-out horrible. The worst I’ve seen.”
As turf-level temperatures approached 100 degrees, Carrier wanted to see his guys respond during camp’s longest scrimmage—and one, coincidentally, staged at midday to approximate kickoff time of the Missouri opener Sept. 3.
Instead he spotted poor body language during warmups.
“They’re hot, they’re tired and they couldn’t think straight,” he said. “That’s what happens when the heat gets involved. You don’t take your route the depth you’re supposed to take it. You don’t block like you’re supposed to. You don’t catch the ball like you’re supposed to.”
For a young coach not far removed from his days of training and playing college ball in steamy Houston, Carrier didn’t excuse Saturday’s sloppiness.
“It’s all self-inflicted,” he said. “They have to find a way to get through these ‘element’ games. They lost today. They lost.”
Among the top four receivers on the depth chart, Shelton Gibson finished with three catches for 31 yards, Durante had four for 61 yards, Daikiel Shorts made one for 8 yards and Ka’Raun White caught one pass for 5 yards.
Dana Holgorsen identified Gary Jennings as the team’s No. 5 receiver before the scrimmage, and the sophomore made two receptions for 24 yards.
As for true freshmen in the two-deep, Marcus Simms picked up 31 yards on two grabs and Steven Smothers gained 20 yards on three quick-hitters underneath.
“The defense got us today,” White said. “Between series the receivers were talking about how somebody needs to make a play to get us going. But we didn’t make plays like we wanted.”