The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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College Sports

August 12, 2013

WVU looking for frontrunner at corner — yes, corner — back

Now halfway through summer practice sessions, West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen is focused intently on some position battles. And it’s not necessarily the one that has Mountaineer fans in a tizzy.

As the man in charge, Holgorsen’s eyes are scanning the entire field, not just the man under center.

“There are a lot of position battles that are ongoing and will be throughout this week,” said Holgorsen during Monday’s meeting with the media. “I am not making any decisions this week on any of the starters. Any time you have six more practices and a week of (fall) camp, things can change pretty drastically. Guys have good days and bad days. You are looking for guys that can consistently put a couple of good days together, which we are starting to figure out who those guys are. If the guys have a bad day, then they need to regroup pretty quickly if they want to be in the hunt for the starting job or a backup role.”

One of the key battles is taking place at cornerback.

Coming out of spring practice, Brodrick Jenkins and Nana Kyeremeh were listed as the likely starters at the two positions.

Kyeremeh, though, will miss the season because of shoulder surgery, and Holgorsen said Jenkins isn’t a lock, either.

“Travis Bell (a converted safety) is transitioning, Ishmael Banks (who played in 11 games and started four last year) has been playing just as good as anybody, Daryl Worley (a freshman from Pennsylvania) is a guy that has a tremendous amount of upside, Avery Williams (a redshirt-sophomore who missed the 2012 season with a medical redshirt) is coming off a year’s worth of a neck injury, so he is betting better every day. Brandon Napoleon (a redshirt freshman) is maturing, and Brodrick Jenkins (who played in nine games and started seven last year) is the veteran of the group. Whether he can hold the younger guys off, or not, we will see.”

Holgorsen said the guys who win those two positions will be just as critical as the guy who wins the quarterback spot.

“Playing in the Big 12, the receivers are good,” he said. “(Cornerback) is a position that is challenging, so we need guys that are confident and obviously better than what we were playing with last year.”

WVU finished the 2012 season ranked 118th among 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, allowing more than 312 passing yards per game.

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WVU’s Nov. 12 men’s basketball game at Virginia Tech will be part of ESPN’s 24-hour Hoops Tip-off Marathon, the school announced Monday.

The game will begin at 1 p.m. from Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg and be televised nationally on ESPN.

Last year, the Mountaineers and Hokies met for the first time since 2004, with WVU winning 68-67 in Morgantown. The two schools have played 76 times, with the Mountaineers holding a 47-29 series lead.

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The new Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG added 13 new affiliates Monday, adding WCBC-AM and WCBC-FM in Cumberland, Md., WCEF-FM in Ripley, WCHG-FM in Hot Springs, Va., WNMP-FM in Marlinton, WVHU-AM in Huntington, WVLS-FM in Monterey, Va., WVMR-AM and WVMR-FM in Hillsboro, WVRC-AM and WVRC-FM in Spencer and WWVA-AM and WBBD-AM in Wheeling.

The new radio lineup now includes 25 stations in three states.

— E-mail: chuffman and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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