"That's the nature of having two quarterbacks in the same class,'' Holgorsen said. "It happens everywhere.''
Indeed, but West Virginia had little choice but to recruit two quarterbacks in the same class because there were no other backups to Smith. Both quarterbacks recruited the year before, Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson, left the team after one semester.
And that's why Athey's departure is potentially troublesome. Smith does not have the best track record of staying healthy - most notably two broken feet in the last two years - and if something happens to him, Millard is the only backup.
There are two other players on the roster who were recruited as quarterbacks, but both Brad Starks and Coley White have been moved to receiver spots.
Holgorsen said there was no thought of moving White back to quarterback as an emergency option, but also admitted that if he can't find a third quarterback something like that might have to be considered.
For now, though, Holgorsen is looking everywhere for a late addition, joking that he was ready to send Smith and Millard to the school's rec center to scout for draftees.
"We're trying. We're calling everybody in the world,'' Holgorsen said. "I don't have an answer for you. It's a terrible situation that we're trying to work out. We're looking at junior colleges, prep schools, wherever we can think of.''
And as for the case of Spavital, that's the one change that actually won't change anything. Spavital has been Holgorsen's right-hand man as a grad assistant the past two years and was to fill that role this season, too.
But when Holgorsen replaced Stewart in June, it opened Holgorsen's spot as one of the NCAA-allowed nine full-time assistant coaches. Holgorsen said when he was elevated to the head coaching role that he wasn't concerned about the opening because he was going to remain the offensive coordinator and Spavital was still around to help with the quarterbacks.
Apparently, though, in early July Spavital was hired to fill the full-time opening. He has been designated the quarterbacks coach. But the school never announced the hiring.
"His role won't change at all. He will do exactly what he did in the spring and what he's always done,'' Holgorsen said. "The only difference is for him. He won't have to go to class this fall.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.