Holgorsen blasts inside receivers

MORGANTOWN – West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen blasted the play of his inside receivers Thursday, saying one of the running backs may eventually move into that slot.

“We are going to move Daikel Shorts inside,” the coach said. “You do not move guys unless you are displeased with what you are looking at. I will defend each and every one of those guys.”

Holgorsen said he could come up with “plenty of excuses” as to why the play of those receivers looks bad. He said junior college transfer Mario Alford has only been practicing for two weeks, Devonte Mathis and Vernon Davis have never played in college, others are true freshmen and Jordan Thompson and Dante Campbell “haven’t practiced for a week, week and half” because of shoulder problems.

“None of us want to hear them,” Holgorsen said. “I do not want to hear them. I do not want to look at them. You guys do not want to hear them; you may write about them, probably. But it is what it is. We need to get guys in here that we trust and like. Which one of those guys is going to develop into an all-Big 12 performer? I don’t know yet. The talent is there. They just need to keep playing. We are not discouraging them. With that said, we play a game in two weeks, and we have to get guys ready to play.”

Newcomer Charles Sims, who transferred from Houston to play his final collegiate season at WVU, is getting a look at playing as an inside receiver, as are fellow running backs Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie and Wendell Smallwood.

“Charles Sims could be our best inside receiver,” Holgorsen said. “He’s a good player. He’s very well-rounded. His ball skills are good. But there’s only one of him. We can’t clone him and put him in two different spots at the same time.”

Holgorsen said Sims is cut from the same cloth as Tavon Austin, a first-round draft pick of St. Louis this spring. He said Sims’ abilities allow for him to start “scheming.

“I am not comparing him to Tavon at all,” the coach said. “There aren’t many guys who can play several different spots. They’re hard to come by.”

Holgorsen said there is a possibility of moving sophomore Cody Clay to one of the inside receiver slots. True freshman Elijah Wellman could also figure into the mix there, as could linebacker-turned-fullback Garrett Hope.

“We need to figure out what the plan is,” the coach said. “We don’t know what role (Wellman) will play. We’re still about a week away from that. Moving Garrett Hope to fullback has alleviated some of our need for (Wellman) there, but he’s going to be a great player for us. Whether we want to waste a year on him being a third-team fullback, we don’t know. That decision hasn’t been made.”

Holgorsen said that receivers Connor Arlia and Will Johnson have left the Mountaineers, and Holgorsen had nothing but praise for the pair.

“Great kids, but they just want to go play,” he said. “I will release them to anywhere that they want to go so they can go get themselves in a position where they can play ball.”