MORGANTOWN - Just for a moment, let's dispense with the coachspeak about every position being open and every player having to earn his spot, be it on a daily, a weekly or a yearly basis.
There are some positions on West Virginia's football team where, while that might certainly be true in theory - after all, guys can't just show up and expect to play if they aren't doing the job - as a practical matter jobs are set in stone.
It's especially true on offense.
Paul Millard isn't suddenly going to unseat Big 12 preseason player of the year Geno Smith at quarterback.
Ryan Nehlen isn't likely to usurp Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey as Smith's go-to receiver.
Joe Madsen will begin the season snapping the ball. Mark it down. And it's a pretty safe bet that the four guys flanking him will come from the same pool of five or six who worked in the spring.
Yes, there will be competition every day when practice begins Thursday, but those guys have proven themselves for two or three years and there's no reason to expect they won't do it again.
And then there are the running backs. Go ahead, draw your names from a hat. You've got just as much chance of getting it right that way as any other.
There are four who have played and distinguished themselves at one time or another - tailbacks Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie and Shawne Alston, along with fullback Ryan Clarke. Donovan Miles is in the mix with Clarke at fullback. There could be a freshman, Torry Clayton, step up just as Garrison and Buie did a year ago.
Who emerges will be interesting to watch between now and Sept. 1 when Marshall makes its last trip to Morgantown.
"That's why we practice,'' Dana Holgorsen said, injecting that bit of coachspeak at perhaps the one position - certainly the most visible one - on offense where it is true. "From week to week they've got to play well and they have to practice well.''
"Everybody's healthy and everybody's ready to go. It's just a matter of lining up and [seeing who does the job]. A lot can happen in 21 days. You go [into camp] and 21 days, three weeks later you've got a better idea of what your team is.''
Truth be told, perhaps no one will emerge from that group. It's happened before, just last fall in fact. Buie was the guy for a while, then Garrison for a while longer. Alston got cranked up when he was healthy. Clarke and the now-departed Matt Lindamood handled the heavy lifting of blocking, all dependent upon whom was healthy or playing well.
Among the returning tailbacks, all have their up sides and advantages.