The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 2, 2011

Running backs make 1st appearance on depth chart

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has told anybody and everybody who will listen that he is intent on playing all four of his young running backs in Sunday’s Friends of Coal Bowl matchup with Marshall, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m.

ESPN will televise the action.

For fun, or, maybe because it’s expected, WVU released its depth chart Tuesday, and the order of the running backs  went like this: Vernard Roberts, Trey Johnson, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison. At fullback, the order went Parkersburg product Matt Lindamood, Ricky Kovatch and Ryan Clarke. Shawne Austin is out with a neck problem.

Of course, it’s always subject to change.

“It could change daily, it could change weekly or it may not change,” Holgorsen said. “Your goal is to be able to get that thing set to the point that it doesn’t change and there’s continuity in your units. You don’t want it to change at all, but it probably will.”

His desire to play all the young backs hasn’t changed.

“We are still intent on playing four running backs during the game,” Holgorsen said. “For the two different positions, it may be two fullbacks out there at times or three fullbacks at one time. Sometimes, it may be three smaller guys in there. That’s something we’ll use to our advantage throughout the whole year.”


Nitro native Tyler Rader, a 6-foot-3, 296-pound redshirt senior, will make his first start Sunday, at right tackle.

He was switched to tight end in 2008 but in 2009 moved back to the interior line.

“He was better than the other guys,” Holgorsen said. “He blocked people better. He’s tough  — it means a lot to him. Assignment-wise he’s good, and talent-wise, he’s been good. He’s not the most overpowering guy that’s ever played the position, but with consistency and getting in front of people, he’s been good.”


Holgorsen also downplayed making his debut as a head coach, after stops at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State as an offensive coordinator.

“I get asked that all the time,” Holgorsen said. “I don’t have an answer for it. It’s about the game plan, setting the practice schedules and reaching our kids, practicing and getting good work, figuring out what we need to change and figuring out what the schedule is each weekend. I wish I had some good material for you. It’s about routine and staying on task and focusing on the task at hand.”


Holgorsen announced his assistant coaches’ duties on gameday.

“Shannon (Dawson) and Jake (Spavital) will be upstairs and will have direct line with me,” Holgorsen said. “Robert Gillespie, Bill Bedenbaugh and Vince Cashdollar (grad assistant) will be down, so they will have a direct line. We can flip back and forth and talk, but they’ll be separate.

“Defensively, it’s the same as it has been. Kirelawich and Steve Dunlap will be upstairs, and Lockwood and Casteel downstairs. Daron Roberts will be downstairs handling special teams.”


There is just one significant injury for the Mountaineers heading into the game, the aforementioned Austin.

“(Running back) Shawne Alston is the only one right now,” Holgorsen said. “Josh Jenkins is on the out-for-good list, and Shawne’s on the out-this-week list.”

— E-mail: demorrison@

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