MORGANTOWN - With Pat Lazear still out and Robert Sands hobbled, the last thing West Virginia's defense needed was to lose a starting cornerback to off-field issues.
That's exactly what happened Tuesday, though.
To no one's surprise, coach Bill Stewart suspended Brandon Hogan indefinitely. He will not play Saturday when No. 21 West Virginia (2-0) plays host to Maryland (2-0) in a noon game to be televised by ESPNU.
Hogan is the Mountaineers' senior All-Big East cornerback and punt returner who was arrested over the weekend.
"Brandon Hogan has been suspended indefinitely from the Mountaineer football team for breaking a team rule,'' Stewart said at the top of his weekly press conference. "I and I alone will handle the discipline and the punishment in a fair, firm and strict manner. He will rejoin the Mountaineer team when I deem fit.''
Hogan, 22, was arrested just after 3 a.m. Sunday in Morgantown and charged with DUI. He was driving the wrong way on Spruce Street.
West Virginia's defense is already a bit hobbled because Lazear, a senior linebacker, has yet to play this season while recovering from a bone bruise just below his knee. His backup, redshirt freshman Branko Busick, missed last week's game against Marshall with a hand injury.
Sands, who along with Hogan form the core of WVU's secondary, has been in and out of the lineup the first two weeks of the season because of neck stingers. Sands first was injured in the opener against Coastal Carolina and did not return to the game. He then aggravated the injury early against Marshall and played mostly in third-down coverage the rest of the night.
Stewart said he didn't know who might replace Hogan, but mentioned all three of the most likely candidates - redshirt freshman Brodrick Jenkins, sophomore Pat Miller or senior Brantwon Bowser. Cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood, meanwhile, tried to put the best face on losing his best cornerback.
"Well, we travel with seven guys and now we have six. And we play with two,'' Lockwood said Tuesday night. "Sometimes we play with four [on passing downs], so that still leaves me with two [extras]. So that's not too bad.''
Indeed, it could be worse. In fact, had this happened last year or the year before, it might have been disastrous. The Mountaineers have considerably more depth at the position now than they've had in recent years.
"It would have been a lot bigger problem. The first year we had two guys,'' said Lockwood, who arrived in 2008. "Now we have a little bit of depth and it's a situation where some younger guys have to step up and get the job done.''