"[Saturday] was a day to see Torry Clayton perform, to see if a guy like D'Vontis Arnold can perform,'' Gillespie said. "Obviously we feel real good about [Alston], we know what Andrew Buie can do, we know what Garrison can do. So we wanted to see if the [freshmen] could close the gap a little bit to where if we had to do something like [redshirt Garrison] we could.
"We'll sit down and watch the film, talk about it as a staff and then go from there.''
Clayton is a fairly known quantity in that he was the only freshman scholarship running back in camp. The Mountaineers signed another, Roshard Burney, but he didn't qualify academically.
Arnold is a bit of a wild card, though. He's a walk-on, but not just a guy off the streets. He's merely among the latest in the pipeline from Miramar High School in Miami.
"He's a guy that's ready to go play if we need him to," Gillespie said. "He's a guy that has worked his way into being a guy we can trust and feel comfortable with if we have to put him in the game."
The 5-9, 185-pound Arnold had few college options, the only real one being a scholarship at Bethune-Cookman. Gillespie talked him into going the walk-on route at WVU.
"If I had five or six guys sitting back there it would have been hard for anyone to work his way through the ranks,'' Gillespie said. "But during the recruiting process I told him, 'Hey, I don't have a lot of scholarships, but if you're willing to walk on I don't have a lot of depth.' He looked at the numbers and he could do the math.''
The math was that there were only the three returnees, and one of those is fresh off of knee surgery and another (Alston) a senior. And the team only signed two backs and one was in danger of not making it.
And so now Arnold has a chance after coming from virtually nowhere in two weeks.
"He's been able to come in here and work hard,'' Gillespie said. "And now we're talking about him.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1