Tonkery is a redshirt freshman from Bridgeport and Petteway a true freshman from Steubenville, Ohio. Petteway played in 11 games this season, mostly on special teams, and saw some action in that Cincinnati game when Bell was injured. Tonkery has played eight games, almost exclusively on special teams.
"I think I'm more ready to play now,'' Petteway said. "The Cincinnati game was more like just being thrown in there. I was injured the week before and didn't play because I had a concussion. Now I'll be more prepared knowing I have a chance to play instead of just being thrown in.''
Petteway and Tonkery are two distinctly different types of players, even though both are about the same size at roughly 6-foot or 6-1 and about 200 pounds. Dunlap likes Petteway's physical play coming from a high school background as a linebacker.
"He's a more physical player,'' Dunlap said. "Tonkery's a smarter player and makes less mistakes because he's been around an extra year.''
Still, Petteway has probably seen more meaningful action on defense as opposed to special teams. The Cincinnati game was a pressure-packed as any the Mountaineers played and Petteway was a part of it. When Tonkery takes the field, it will really be the first time he's played anything other than special teams at a point in a game when it matters.
And that's not lost on Tonkery.
"It's an incredible feeling, something I haven't felt all year,'' Tonkery said. "The first game you play happens to be the Orange Bowl.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.