The second-year Mountaineer head coach said he would play "all of 'em" in response to a question regarding how incoming players would be utilized in WVU's inagural Big 12 season. "The hardest one is offensive line," Holgorsen said.
Meaning that West Virginia will almost certainly redshirt all their freshmen offensive trench players this season. However, every other slot, especially the skill positions, are open for competition, even from 17- and 18-year-olds. That sentiment was echoed by defensive coordinator Joe DeForest, who said if a player can run at 20, he can run at 18 years old. DeForest said that, in essense, the redshirt year would serve as an insurance policy of sorts. If a player were to get injured, he could redshirt and save a season of eligibility. Thus, if a recruit can contribute, "play 'em."
That's a far different mindset than what was thought to be the de facto approach even 15 years ago. When freshmen were allowed to enroll and workout in the summer, the numbers playing in the fall immediately increased. West Virginia appears tpo have at least six newcomers who could contribute, and very likely will contribute, this fall. Receivers Jordan Thompson and Travares Copeland, safety KJ Dillon, defensive back Karl Joseph, and corner Nana Kyeremeh and linebacker Garrett Hope might all play.
Thompson and Copeland expect to figure into the two- or three-deep on offense, Dillon has trhe athletic ability and speed to play regular downs, Joseph perhaps the same, and Kyeremeh shows some burst and excellent special teams abilitites, if not a bit more. Hope is expected to contribute mainly, if not only, on special teams.
That's not to note that these players will amass significant statistics and snap counts. But it does illustrate that Holgorsen will use them for additional depth, which is the main aspect that needs developed heading into the Big 12.
"We have more numbers now," said Holgorsen of his second year, after the previous staff didn't recruit full classes each year. "It's a whole team, and that's what you want." Holgorsen estimated his scholarship numbers at about 80. The NCAA maximum is 85.
"It should be easier in year two," Holgorsen said. "What we do isn't real hard (to understand). That doesn't mean we will be real good at it. But it's not difficult."