MORGANTOWN - How quickly things can change.
By the end of West Virginia's spring drills, true freshman Vernard Roberts had worked himself up from obscurity to the top of the Mountaineers' offensive depth chart at running back. He tossed aside Trey Johnson and Shawne Alston, had all but rendered Ryan Clarke a non-factor and was positioned to become the next Noel Devine or Steve Slaton, Avon Cobourne or Amos Zereoue.
In the modern blogosphere or Twitterverse world, Roberts was trending.
Well, two weeks into West Virginia's fall camp, Roberts is still in the mix at running back, but he's no longer the hot topic. Freshmen Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie arrived in the summer and have been all the rage in camp.
Were the season to start today, in fact, Roberts might actually be behind both Buie and Garrison, although things can change with two weeks remaining before the opener with Marshall.
Roberts, after having worked his way through the veterans during the spring, just accepts the challenge from two newcomers as part of the process.
"It's like you've got ants in the hole and they just keep coming,'' Roberts said Thursday. "You just have to keep competing. It's going to bring the best out of all three of us.''
From all indications, the competition between Roberts, Garrison and Buie is airtight. All three are small backs with something different to bring to the table, and all three could wind up playing. And don't forget the veterans because Johnson, another small back, and Alston, the big back in the bunch, are still in the mix.
Despite his success in the spring, Roberts never took anything for granted
"I was talking to my parents before camp started and even though they had me No. 1 on the depth chart I told them I still felt like I was at the bottom,'' Roberts said. "It gave me the incentive to keep working. It's just a depth chart. They had to put somebody at the top.''
As for his current and ever-changing position?
"It doesn't matter,'' Roberts said. "Whether I'm No. 1, 2, 3, 4, I believe that I can play. I'm going to be the best player that Vernard Roberts can be.''
Matt Moro arrived at West Virginia this summer with a reputation as a big hitter. It's really the reason he was recruited from junior college.
But the 5-foot-11, 190-pound free safety is learning that there is more to the game than just trying to knock people out.
"You always want to hit somebody, but you don't want to hit the wrong person,'' Moro said. "If I have a gap and I'm supposed to hit the tackle outside, if I hit him inside maybe it gives up a touchdown.
"It's not necessarily just hitting anybody. It's playing smart and fast, which is what they want to see.''
Moro has taken his lessons and made the most of them. Two weeks into his Division I career he is the backup to Eain Smith at free safety and figures to see playing time both in special defensive packages and on special teams.
Not bad for a guy who played just one year of high school football - as a defensive end and linebacker - because of academic issues.