WHILE ANXIOUSLY awaiting the Coal Bowl and, soon, Ron Artest's appearance on "Dancing With the Stars" ...
Sophomore Trey Johnson had been coming on strong and had narrowed the gap between himself and the trio of freshmen. The pregame depth chart reflected that to a degree, with Vernard Roberts returning to the top of the list, followed by Johnson, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison.
A couple weeks back, Buie was No. 1, followed by Garrison and Roberts. Johnson's charge, however, was slowed when he was "nicked" by an undisclosed injury.
Anyway, it seems as though WVU fans will get at least a glimpse of all four backs in the near future, if not on Sunday. The starter, in fact, might only be the starter because of the first play call.
We'll see. There are many unknowns heading into the game, and that's one of them. If, however, new coach Dana Holgorsen goes with the tailback-by-committee approach, we'll also see if it's successful.
I've never been a fan of the "committee" approach. It makes more sense in the NFL, with a 16-game regular season. The backs there are beaten to a pulp by the end of the season.
But most of the backs I've spoken to over the years prefer getting the proverbial lather going. They get a better feel for the game with an increased load and begin recognizing what the defense is bringing. Thus, they are more effective.
Sure, backs in college also need a breather. And the "committee" approach has worked at certain schools. Also, Holgorsen has suggested that if he begins the season with the approach, it doesn't mean he'll continue it. Makes sense since opponents will soon recognize the specialty of each back.
But I subscribe to the theory of putting the best on the field, and having the next-best ready to go.
The word out of Mountaineer camp is Bailey had an "unbelievable" camp. Ditto Austin.
Expect Bailey, Austin, Tyler Urban and the combination of Ryan Nehlen and Ivan McCartney to get the bulk of the snaps. Nehlen and McCartney will probably rotate almost every other play.
Yes, the expectations will be for a season over .500. But playing in the Big East, there's a chance the Mountaineers won't finish too much higher than that.