"We felt like we had to get the linebacker room set, and I think we did."
Billy Mitchell and Point Pleasant native Derek Mitchell (no relation) are the fifth-year greybeards. Holmes, a junior, was the team's fourth-leading tackler last season, and led in tackles for loss (13.5). Houston, a freshman, had a tremendous spring.
Carter is another junior, probably the reason he spent the last four days with Turene and Hewitt. The 6-foot-3, 236-pound Turene is almost a known commodity, though he has yet to make his college debut. Hewitt, at 6-2, 220, has turned heads from minute one this week.
"Kent's always got a motor going, and so is Neville," Carter said. "Neville's a young guy, and one good thing about Neville is he's football smart. You notice that in the meeting rooms, he's picking up terminology quick for a [newcomer], and that's unusual."
So what will the "also rans" do when they fall short? One hint: Carter played on every kicking unit a year ago.
"We think we've got six or eight who can play now [position-wise], but now it makes your special teams much better, because those guys are cover guys," Holliday said. "Hewitt and Houston and Turene, McKelvey, Billy and down the line, those guys can all run down on kickoffs, they can block punts and do all those different things.
"Whenever you have that kind of athlete at linebacker, your special-team units should be bolstered, too."
Oh, yeah, Fuller has his hand in coaching some of those units, so he'll have more factors to sort through. But he's hardly dreading it.
"It won't be my job to define who's going to play," he said. "They're going to be able to define that here in the next two weeks. They're good players and they like football, so it's going to be a fun road."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.