By Cam Huffman
West Virginia has dealt with inexperience and indecision throughout the first eight games of the 2013 season, and its fans have experienced some indigestion watching the Mountaineers win just three of their first eight games — falling short in the final quarter in losses to Oklahoma, No. 16 Texas Tech and Kansas State.
But as WVU (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) prepares for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game at TCU (3-5, 1-4 Big 12), which will air live on ESPNU, it will be dealing with another in-problem — injuries.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Ford Childress, who appeared to have won the starting job before injuring a pectoral muscle in a loss at Maryland, is still “a couple of weeks away,” according to WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen, but he’s resumed throwing and is on the path toward a return.
“He’s going to have the opportunity to come back, and we will have to evaluate him in practice,” said Holgorsen. “He’s not there this week. He will keep improving. We have three games, then an off week, then five weeks from now we will be playing our last regular season game, so we will see how it progresses.”
Junior running back Dustin Garrison is out with an injured hamstring, and he could be eligible for a redshirt since he hasn’t played since the loss at Maryland. Wes Tonkery is out for the year and will have shoulder surgery. He joins a list that includes Christian Brown, Nana Kyeremeh, Shaq Petteway and Tyler Tezeno of players who are lost the season.
Senior offensive linemen Pat Eger left Saturday’s loss to Kansas State in the first quarter and will be day-to-day. Linebacker Doug Rigg had his second concussion of the year and is questionable for Saturday, and Daryl Worley is battling a shin problem and is also day-to day.
Dontrill Hyman is expected to be back after an ankle injury, and Ricky Rumph is hopeful he will return after injuring his foot.
“Everybody in the country deals with these things this time of year,” said Holgorsen of the long list of walking — and not walking — wounded. “We had 13 guys that were out against Kansas State.”
The injuries, though, have forced the Mountaineers to make a couple of moves, including pulling the redshirt off of freshman Darrien Howard, who provided depth on the defensive line.
“It was a weekly conversation for the coaching staff over the past month on whether or not to play him,” said Holgorsen. “Dontrill (Hyman) was out We needed to move Kyle Rose exclusively to end with Shaq Rowell and Will Clarke. But it left us a nose short.
“We feel it was a good decision to play (Howard). He played about 15 snaps, and hopefully he plays more.”
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Holgorsen said Tuesday he expects junior quarterback Clint Trickett to make his fifth straight start Saturday, despite being pulled at the end of the KSU game in favor of junior Paul Millard.
“I would think that (Trickett is starting),” said Holgorsen. “We will evaluate it today and tomorrow. I put Paul Millard in there, because I felt that we needed a bit of a spark. We got down two scores and had 12 points in the fourth quarter, so I put him in there to try and execute.”
“We have to win these (final) four games,” said Trickett, who still displayed confidence despite a rocky season. “We try to treat every week as its own season. We try to put everything we have into each game.”
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