Holgorsen satisfied with start

MORGANTOWN – Dana Holgorsen came away feeling satisfied after his West Virginia Mountaineers concluded their first practice in preparation for the upcoming season.

”We had a good first day,” the fourth-year coach said. ”Everybody in the country has a good first day, I promise you that. The guys were pretty fired up about being out there. We had good energy and got done what we wanted to get accomplished.”

The Mountaineers practiced in jerseys and shorts as there was no contact during the first day.

”Our team feels like we’re better at every position,” Holgorsen said. ”You can make an argument that we are. We lost two guys to the NFL who are great players. We may have to replace those guys with the combination of a couple guys.”

While it was the initial practice, it wasn’t the first time coaches and players were able to interact since spring ball.

The team was able to hold summer practices and in doing so, helped build chemistry between coaches and players.

Holgorsen noted the chemistry and the continuity right now is better than it has been since he has been on the West Virginia sideline.

”There is a comfort level that exists right now that I’m very pleased with,” he said. ”Our coaching staff has a great relationship with each other. The chemistry with our coaching staff – I couldn’t be more pleased with. We’ve been able to spend more time with our players. We’ve got a full roster.”

Night and Day

Last season at this time, Clint Trickett’s head was spinning.

On top of competing for the starting quarterback job, Trickett also was trying to get a handle on Holgorsen’s playbook. Not the easiest thing to do.

This season, Trickett not only has the confidence in knowing how to run the plays, but he also has the comfort of knowing he’s the starter.

”His sense of urgency, the way he’s reading signals and getting the ball snap is night and day compared to what it was at any point last year,” Holgorsen said. ”It’s just nice to be able to not have to coach a guy every single play. You can call it, and he does it, and you just move on to the next one. He’s in a good place, and we will continue to develop his leadership skills and his continuity with the rest of the receivers. There’s a real comfort level right now with him and (center) Tyler Orlosky and the receivers that exists right now that didn’t exist at any point last season.”

A Stable of Backs

The Mountaineers might have more depth at running back than they’ve ever had.

Listed at the top of the depth chart is senior Dreamius Smith, followed by redshirt sophomore and Pitt transfer Rushel Shell. Redshirt juniors Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie are listed as three and four, respectively.

”It’s hard to put these running backs on an actual depth chart right now because we’ve got so many of them,” Holgorsen said.

”We’re going to be able to rep them and rep them and rep them and kind of sort out which guys do what, figure out what our game plan is going to be, then plug these guys in as we see fit.”

One name that was left off the depth chart was Wendell Smallwood, who on July 14 was arrested on charges of intimidating a witness involved in a murder case. However, the chargers against him recently were dropped. That still brings up the question as to where Smallwood sits with the West Virginia coaching staff.

”Wendell Smallwood is where he was at the end of camp,” Holgorsen said. ”He had a great summer. Obviously, he was not with us for about a 10-day period. He is an integral part of what we’re going to be doing offensively.”