Mountaineers hope to shore up depth
WVU opens home slate today against Youngstown State
MORGANTOWN (AP) — No. 14 West Virginia has the opportunity to shore up its depth with a Championship Subdivision opponent looming and the Big 12 opener just two weeks away.
The defense in particular could use a few more linebackers as the Mountaineers (1-0) prepare for their home opener today against Youngstown State (0-1).
Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson inserted an extra lineman at times in a 40-14 win over Tennessee last week after linebacker Charlie Benton suffered a season-ending knee injury. Two others linebackers, Brendan Ferns and Quondarius Qualls, are already out with injuries.
Junior Shea Campbell filled in for Benton in his first college action. Redshirt freshman Exree Loe is listed as the starter ahead of Campbell in Benton’s spot this week.
“We’re not going to sit here and pout about it,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. “That’s part of the game.
“It’s never going to go away. It’s what we always talk about. Guys need to step up and go play.”
On offense, West Virginia’s backup quarterbacks have never played a down in college.
Last year the Mountaineers struggled after Will Grier missed most of the final three games with a hand injury. Backup Chris Chugunov transferred to Ohio State, leaving Miami transfer Jack Allison and dual-threat Trey Lowe to battle for the spot behind Grier this season.
If Grier has another solid effort and the Mountaineers put Saturday’s game out of reach, it could give either Allison or Lowe an opportunity to have their debut.
Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini is trying to figure out his own team’s “comedy of errors” in a 23-21 loss to Butler. The Penguins were penalized nine times and Butler none. Youngstown State missed two field goals and had a touchdown run called back by penalty.
Kennedy McKoy was West Virginia’s top returning running back this season but didn’t enter the Tennessee game until the third quarter. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said junior Martell Pettaway deserved to start against Tennessee because he “had an unbelievable summer.” With four capable running backs, West Virginia could stagger their use against the Penguins.