"Yeah, I've seen some differences in him. I think it matters a lot more to him now. Whatever those issues he was dealing with last year I don't see him dealing with them. Is he going to be a difference maker? We'll see on Saturday.''
The inside receivers listed on the depth chart have no college experience. The backup is redshirt freshman Devonte Mathis, but the talk of the preseason was true freshman Daikiel Shorts, who has earned the start.
"Daikiel Shorts has really impressed me,'' Holgorsen said of the 6-foot, 201-pounder from New Jersey who enrolled in January and was able to go through spring practice and the full offseason. "He's just a true freshman, but he's really impressed me, so he'll be one of the first ones that get trotted out there. But then how much they play is going to depend on what I see once they're out there.''
Also in the mix in the slot is Jordan Thompson. He's not on the depth chart, but he's actually the leading returning receiver after catching 13 passes for 85 yards as a freshman. He was the talk of last year's preseason who never really lived up to the hype, but then had six catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns in the spring game.
West Virginia's coaches have pretty much universally decided not to talk about Thompson until his game production comes close to matching what he's done in practice and the spring game.
The wild card at inside receiver, though, might be 5-9, 175-pound junior college transfer Mario Alford. Like White, he's also listed as questionable for Saturday with a foot injury. Vernon Davis, the transfer from Miami who was switched from cornerback to receiver in the spring, can also play there, as can any of the deep corps of running backs, along with bigger utility types Cody Clay and Garrett Hope.
With all of those bodies - throw Dante Campbell and Terrance Gourdine into the mix as outside receivers, too - talent isn't the question. What Holgorsen wonders about is how so many newcomers will react under pressure.
"You've got guys that haven't been through this before like Mario, Kevin, Ronald Carswell. They just haven't been through this before,'' Holgorsen said. "Devonte Mathis, Vernon Davis, they haven't been through this before.''
A year ago, Holgorsen didn't use a ton of receivers, but that was because the guys at the top of the depth chart were clearly the ones who needed to play. That may change this year, but a lot depends on whether or not anyone clearly steps up like Austin and Bailey did the last two seasons.
"We'll play upwards of about eight,'' Holgorsen said. "Once a guy establishes that he's the main guy at that specific position, then it reduces the backup reps barring any injuries that we have.
"The top-end guys we had last year were just that much better than the other guys, so they played a considerable amount of snaps than the backups did. But we always went into each game with about eight guys that were capable of playing.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.