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Fog is clearing for Rigg

AP Photo
WVU linebacker Doug Rigg gets carted off after getting knocked unconscious against Oklahoma last week.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Early this week, Dana Holgorsen referred to Doug Rigg as still "a little foggy'' after the head-to-head hit that knocked him out cold in West Virginia's game at Oklahoma last week.

Perhaps this illustrates the point of just how foggy Rigg is.

"It was definitely a memorable experience,'' the West Virginia linebacker said.

Really? Memorable.

"Yeah, as soon as I said that I realized that's probably not true,'' Rigg laughed.

In the fourth quarter of Saturday's 16-7 loss to the Sooners, Rigg was chasing OU running back Brennan Clay from behind. Clay was running to the right, just in front of the West Virginia bench. In front of Clay, WVU safety Karl Joseph was ready to make one of his big hits.

Just as Joseph lunged at Clay, the running back ducked down. With Rigg chasing the play from behind, Joseph and Rigg collided head first. Rigg rolled over onto his back and was out cold.

"I just remember trying to tackle the OU running back and the next thing you know a trainer's over me saying, 'Wake up,' '' said Rigg, who would watch the play on tape on Sunday and realize what all the concern was about. "I was shocked. I didn't realize how bad it looked.''

Rigg was unconscious for perhaps 30 seconds, but it was probably 10 minutes before he was moved. Simply as a precaution, medical personnel removed his facemask, gingerly strapped him to a stretcher and transported him to an Oklahoma City hospital.

He didn't remain there long and was able to fly home with the team shortly after the game.

"I'm pretty good for the most part,'' Rigg said.

It's not the first time Rigg has been carried off the field on a stretcher. He said it happened to him as a freshman in high school in New Jersey, but that wasn't serious, either.

The chances of Rigg playing this weekend when West Virginia (1-1) hosts Georgia State (0-2) Saturday at Mountaineer Field seem slim. His diagnosis was a slight concussion and, given the current emphasis on concussion prevention and treatment, playing against a bad Georgia State team doesn't appear likely.

Rigg's injury is, however, the latest in a long line of troubles for West Virginia's once-deep linebacking corps.

Even before the season began, one linebacker, Shaq Petteway, was lost for the season to a knee injury. In the opener against William & Mary, Dozie Ezemma was lost to a broken leg. Isaiah Bruce left the Oklahoma game with an injury and then Rigg was, literally, knocked out.

By the second half of the Oklahoma game, true freshman Marvin Gross was on the field. This week, defensive lineman Eric Kinsey was shifted to buck linebacker.

Coach Dana Holgorsen isn't concerned yet because the Mountaineers began the season with a plentiful supply of linebackers. But the trend can't continue.

"I wouldn't view it as a troublesome lack of depth,'' Holgorsen said. "We've got bodies.''

As for Rigg, he's now had a chance to see what all the commotion was about. He's seen the hit he took from Joseph and the long delay in Saturday's game while he was tended to.

"I thought, 'Wow, now I know why people were so scared,' '' he said.

He also has a better idea now of just what all the concern was prior to the season about Joseph, whose big hits last season stirred speculation that if any WVU player was to have a concern with the new targeting penalties in college football it would be the sophomore safety. Rigg had never really had to deal with what offensive players face with Joseph on the other side of the ball.

"Yeah, I think I might be on his highlight film,'' Rigg said. "The guy can hit.''

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickman1@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.

 


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