Running back is nearly as crowded. Houston transfer Charles Sims seems unquestionably at the top of the list, but junior college transfer Dreamius Smith will play as a single back and in two-back sets. The leading rushers the past two seasons, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison, will play, as will true freshman Wendell Smallwood. And Cody Clay will certainly be heavily involved in the offense as a fullback, slot receiver and tight end.
The most high-profile position - and battle - of course, was at quarterback. Florida State transfer Clint Trickett seems to have the edge there over Paul Millard and Ford Childress, but Holgorsen refuses talk about it.
"I anticipate that by the end of practice on Saturday being 100 percent sure of the direction we're going to go in [at quarterback],'' Holgorsen said Thursday. But he was unavailable after Saturday's practice.
On defense, the three-man front seems set with Shaq Rowell in the middle and Will Clarke and Eric Kinsey beside him. Kyle Rose, Dontrill Hyman, Christian Brown, Noble Nwachukwu and Trevor Demko seem destined for playing time at a position where all could play in a single game.
The linebacker corps is as crowded as any position. All or most of 13 players could play, although that number has to be pared to seven or eight and the rest might see their time primarily on special teams. Consider any of Isaiah Bruce, Doug Rigg, Wes Tonkery, Brandon Golson, Jared Barber, Nick Kwiatkowski and Shaq Petteway as potential starters, with Dozie Ezemma, Tyler Anderson and Sean Walters right behind them. Don't count out true freshmen Hodari Christian and Al-Rasheed Benton, either, at least on special teams.
The safeties seem set with Karl Joseph and Darwin Cook backed up by K.J. Dillon. Jarrod Harper, Ricky Rumph and freshman Jeremy Tyler are also in reserve. The cornerbacks will come from a group of six, with Ishmael Banks, Travis Bell and Brodrick Jenkins the primary ones for now. But Avery Williams and Brandon Napoleon will play and true freshman Daryl Worley might be the best of the bunch.
Josh Lambert is the kicker and Nick O'Toole is likely to be the punter, although Mike Molinari could do that, too. Any of those three could kick off, although it seems likely they could split the jobs with Lambert on field goals and PATs, O'Toole punting and Molinari kicking off.
The returners on punts and kickoffs will come from another deep group that includes Carswell, Sims, Alford, Smallwood, Thompson and wide receiver Vernon Davis. Freshmen Shelton Gibson and Jacky Marcellus could also line up back there, but not unless the coaches decide to break their potential redshirts because they are needed there or at wide receiver.
All told, that's about 50 who will play and another 15-20 who could, including the specialists.
"There are going to be 50 guys that are going to go into the first game knowing they're taking snaps one way or another, whether it's second-team stuff, special-team stuff or a rotation that we developed that we haven't really discussed yet,'' Holgorsen said. "I want to have a pretty good idea of what the two-deep is going to be and who those 50 players are that we're counting on.
"The next week is to get starters situated on special teams, offense and defense. Then we figure out who those other guys are going to be in the rotation. I think we're on track for all that.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1.