WVU Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson left for Kentucky after the Bowl Game. In a presser following NSD, Holgorsen announced that he was looking forward to working with the quarterbacks again.
This statement along with the hiring of Defensive Line Coach Bruce Tall implies that Holgorsen will be assuming the role of offensive coordinator. Is that his true intent?
An even larger question relates to the scholarship limit of 85. Including incoming recruits who signed letters of intent, WVU now has 90 scholarship players.
By summer that list has to be down to 85 to meet NCAA rules. Some people speculate that WVU may lose one or two running backs and the names being mentioned are Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison.
By failing to sign a RB this year, the Mountaineers really cannot afford to lose even one. The list of RBs for 2015 includes:
- R-jr Rushel Shell
- R-Sr Dustin Garrison
- R-Sr Andrew Buie
- Jr Wendell Smallwood
- R-fr Dontae Thomas-Williams
- R-fr Printice Tillman
- Fr Brady Watson (2015 class)
All of the game experience lies with Buie, Garrison, Shell and Smallwood. WVU really cannot afford to lose any of these RBs going into the 2015 season.
Most fans are hoping that Dontae Thomas-Williams sees the field in 2015, and they expect many good things from him. To lose Andrew Buie or Dustin Garrison from this group could cause problems for the running game, especially late in the season. Injuries tend to accumulate.
What this also tells us is that in 2016, WVU must go after not one, but as many as 3 RBs to get the numbers back-up to provide necessary depth at this position.
This may also mean that Holgorsen is planning to begin utilizing fullbacks to also run the ball. Redshirt-so Elijah Wellman, 6’1″ 238 lb.and Michigan transfer r-so Michael Ferns, 6’3″ and 239 lbs. could certainly fill that role. Is that the plan?
Holgorsen stated that this was the first year he and his staff were able to be selective in who they recruited. It appears that he and his staff have been recruiting players in some cases simply to get the numbers up, and not necessarily based on actual talent.
This indicates to me that 5 of these players will lose scholarships, fail to qualify, or are graduating early to achieve the 85 limit. Is it possible that some players who are not performing may lose their scholarship?
An unfortunate result of the full roster is the loss of the ability to award scholarships to walk-ons who have earned them. It will be interesting to see how all this works out.
One of the positions where Holgorsen really cannot afford to lose a player to get down to the 85 limit is at RB. Failing to sign any for 2015 will eventually cause a shortage.