Keep in mind, of course, that as much as things have changed in a week, they could change just as much in the three weeks before the season begins.
But perhaps even more significant is this: All of those linebackers are likely to play and they probably won't be pigeonholed into just one position. All the early movement just gives them a chance to feel out new positions and for the coaches to search for the right combinations.
The reason for all the movement, said Patterson, is that the types of offenses West Virginia will face are tremendously varied, even in what is considered a wide-open Big 12.
"Look at Kansas State, which is as far from a spread offense as you can get. It's power-run football,'' Patterson said, also pointing out that teams like Texas and Oklahoma can run the ball, too, and that Iowa State makes its living there. "Therefore, you'd better be able to go big. You'd better be able to get 240-pound 'backers in there that can stop the run.''
On the other hand, there are also plenty of teams that will spread the field and throw the ball on nearly every down,
"That's where guys like Shaq and Isaiah Bruce come into the equation,'' Patterson said. "Those are guys who have to be able to make plays in space.''
Thus, you have safety types like Petteway and Bruce taking reps at Sam with a more traditional linebacker type like Rigg able to play there, too. But if, say, Petteway has to be on the field against a spread team, now Rigg is able to share time with Barber at Will instead of coming off the field and simply sitting down.
It's all about depth and versatility, both of which will be required in abundance.
"I feel good about the versatility that we have at linebacker,'' Patterson said. "And we have plenty of depth. I've got about five guys inside right now that I know are ready to play and about two more that I think are quality backups.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.