Well, West Virginia hasn't had any 140-pound backs, of course, but consider the recent history of the position extending all the way back into the Don Nehlen era. It has become almost a given that this team's leading rusher is going to be a little guy.
Noel Devine was 5-8 and barely 170 pounds and he led the Mountaineers in rushing the last three years. Pat White was a skinny quarterback who was the leading rusher in 2007 and Steve Slaton was 5-10 and 190 pounds when he was the top rusher in 2005 and 2006. And between 1996 and 2002 the team's leading rusher was either 5-10, 200-pound Amos Zereoue or 5-8, 185-pound Avon Cobourne.
For the record, in the last 15 years the only players who have led West Virginia in rushing during a season and weighed more than 200 pounds were the 6-2, 245-pound Harris in 2004 and 5-10, 215-pound Quincy Wilson the year before that. And Wilson wasn't so much a big back as he was the fireplug type.
Maybe that changes this year. Maybe not.
"If you make plays you get the ball,'' Holgorsen said. "That happens at receiver, too. If you make a few plays then you're probably going to get the opportunity to get the ball more. It doesn't matter how big you are or what you look like.''
For the record, Holgorsen's top back at Oklahoma State last year was Kendall Hunter, who was 5-8 and 200 pounds. He gained more than 1,500 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. But the year before, at Houston, he had two backs who split the load almost evenly and both could be considered bigger backs - 5-11, 215-pound Bryce Beall and 6-foot, 195-pound Charles Sims.
At West Virginia next fall, it could be running backs by committee, too, which would give a lot of guys a chance. Holgorsen experimented with some three-back sets during the spring and seemed to like what he saw to a point, although there wasn't much of that shown in the spring game.
"We fit it to the personnel,'' said Gillespie, the running backs coach who was with Holgorsen last year in Stillwater. "At Oklahoma State, that was the first time we used the three backs because we had great personnel in the backfield. We carried that here and Dana's going to do a good job of figuring out who can do what and try to put guys in the right positions to succeed.''
Regardless of the size.
"Every day's an audition,'' Gillespie said. "These guys have to show what they can do and then we'll sit down and figure out what we can do best. We have to figure out who is a playmaker, who is going to keep performing and who has peaked.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.