That left Berry, Mortty Ivy and Quinton Andrews as the only returning starters. This year the Mountaineers are down to end Julian Miller, cornerback Keith Tandy, linebacker Najee Goode and safety Terence Garvin. Only Tandy and Miller are multi-year starters.
All of which explains why the team's pre-spring depth chart probably should have been written on a grease board instead of paper. There are so many holes to fill and so few really experienced players to step in that it's all going to seem hectic for a while.
"We have some good, young players that we have to mix and match and find the best way to utilize them,'' Casteel said. "And I think we have some guys that are capable.''
But as for the depth chart?
"Don't pay attention to it,'' Casteel said. "Because I couldn't tell you where they're going to play.
"The kids have asked me, 'Coach, where am I playing?' I don't know yet. And we don't need to know. When we need to know is when we get a little closer to September."
Fans, as a general rule, tend to make a bit too much of who is playing with the first team and the second team during both spring and fall camps. A lot of it is simple experimentation, trying to find out not only who can play where, but who can play best with whom. Anyone who puts any stock at all into that this spring is just asking to be surprised the next week or even the next day.
Still, the core guys who will get the first shots do have at least some experience. Jorge Wright and Josh Taylor have combined to play in 44 games on the line. Bruce Irvin will get a look on first and second downs now, and Will Clarke has potential to play behind or opposite Miller.
In the secondary, Pat Miller and Brodrick Jenkins were forced into a lot of action last year and will play with Tandy. Garvin, who it is easy to forget was last year's leading tackler, has some experience around him in Eain Smith (who has made nine starts at free safety), Darwin Cook, Mike Dorsey and Travis Bell.
Only at linebacker do things get a bit sticky. It's so unsettled there that Goode is actually listed as the starter on both the strong and weak sides, while Branko Busick, with all of three games experience, is listed as the starter in the middle. Junior-college transfer Josh Francis and sophomore Doug Rigg are going to be asked to get better in a hurry, along with a few others.
Then again, in 2008 a lot of guys were asked to get a lot better in a hurry, too, and they did.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.