Two names that did not show up on the defensive depth chart were linebackers Wes Tonkery and Shaq Petteway. Freshman Marvin Gross was listed as a backup in that group.
And perhaps the battle for the job of kickoff specialist continues. Josh Lambert is listed on the depth chart as the kicker, but no distinction is made between placekicker and kickoffs.
Junior college transfer Nick O'Toole is listed as the punter, while Sims and Smallwood are listed as the kick returners and Carswell is ahead of Jordan Thompson as the punt returner.
All during West Virginia's preseason camp, one word kept coming up when coaches talked about their position battles.
"We're trying to make every room uncomfortable,'' Dawson said. "That's the key.''
By uncomfortable, Dawson and the other assistants mean competitive.
"I think ever since I got here, rooms have been comfortable because it's been clear cut: These are the guys and these are the guys that are behind,'' Dawson said. "There are no levels in the rooms now. We've got three, sometimes four, sometimes five people in every room at every position that are battling and capable.
"The whole level of competition has picked up. And you can tell. You take a day off and you're going to fall.''
It's not just at quarterback and on the offense - wide receivers and running backs - where there is intrigue about the depth chart.
In fact, there are perhaps even more close position battles on defense than offense. As many as eight to 12 linebackers could play, seven or eight defensive linemen and perhaps 10 players on the back end at safety and cornerback.
Don't expect those battles to ever produce clear-cut winners, however. Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has too many different things to defend to settle on just 11 - or even 15 or 16 - mainstays.
"This is a game about matchups and it's become more so that way,'' Patterson said. "You have to defend from sideline to sideline and from goal line to goal line. You can't do that by just putting this group of people on the field and letting them go.''
In other words, expect the personnel on defense to change frequently.
"You can't allow the offense to create mismatches,'' Patterson said. "And that's when the personnel and substitution patterns come in place.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com
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