Camp Holgorsen: Roberts leads at RB
Vernard Roberts
Staff Writer
Posted Aug 9, 2011


West Virginia head football coach Dana Holgorsen gave the first inkling of who might win the starting running back position. His answer: true freshman Vernard Roberts … right now.

Holgorsen said Roberts is ahead of the other players in the running for the starting “A” position because of his participation in spring practice. It seems Roberts has the edge on sophomore Trey Johnson, who also participated in spring ball.

“(Roberts) is ahead right now,” Holgorsen said. “Keep in mind, we’re in practice No. 4, not 24. He’s ahead in terms of overall blocking schemes, protection and understanding where to go with the ball.”

It’s still anyone’s position, Holgorsen admitted. He was impressed by other freshmen Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie in Tuesday’s practice. Holgorsen said Roberts “did some good things,” as well. Holgorsen said Johnson also had strong moments in the practice.

“There is a level of competitiveness out there that is making those guys better,” Holgorsen said. “It doesn’t really matter that they’re freshmen, because all of this is new.”

Holgorsen considers Buie to be the running back with the biggest “twitch,” which is something the offensive coaches look for in an “A” back. Garrison “makes people miss,” Holgorsen said, better than any other back.

“Both of them are sharp kids. They have a bunch of football sense,” he said.

Holgorsen would like to see three running backs in the rotation, but no more than three. That means that it’s likely one of the four players in the running will be left out.

Holgorsen has made it clear throughout practice that he is pleased with the “bigger” backs like Ryan Clarke, Shawne Alston, Matt Lindamood and Ricky Kovatch.

  • While Holgorsen has yet to get down how to say the name of Wake Forest transfer Devon Brown, the Mountaineers’ head coach has been impressed with the receiver.

    “He’s doing really well … He’s probably caught as many balls in pass skeleton as any guy we’ve got,” Holgorsen said. “He’s a pleasant surprise.”

    Holgorsen said that Brown will push for a starting spot at inside receiver. He and senior Tyler Urban are vying for that other starting spot on the inside alongside speedster Tavon Austin. The coach is also pleased with Notre Dame transfer Steve Paskorz at linebacker. He is playing middle linebacker behind starter Najee Goode.

  • Holgorsen made a point in Tuesday’s press conference to say that freshman quarterback Paul Millard has a higher pass completion than starter Geno Smith.

    Throughout camp, Holgorsen has tried to keep Smith grounded and not too confident heading into what some have called a Heisman campaign.

  • Holgorsen will not ban Twitter or Facebook, which seems to be a trend among FBS programs across the country.

    However, he told the team that those social media sites are being monitored and that the players are in charge of what others are posting on their Facebook walls.

    “They’re not allowed to talk about the other players or how practice is going,” Holgorsen said. “If we catch them, we’ll keep them after practice and remind them what our policy is.” Holgorsen said being responsible with social media is part of maturing.



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