The new depth chart released by the Mountaineer coaching staff reveals former starting end Eric Kinsey, who came on strong toward the latter portions of camp and overtook Kyle Rose at the slot, has been moved to buck linebacker behind starter Brandon Golson. Kinsey, a sophomore, and Golson, a junior, are both 6-2, but Kinsey has an additional 45 pounds on his 220-pound counterpart. His size, he says, shouldn't greatly affect him, but it's tough to imagine Kinsey will run as well as senior Dozie Ezemma, the one-time back-up now sidelined for the season – and perhaps his collegiate career – with what head coach Dana Holgorsen called multiple bone breaks in his foot.
The move slides Rose back into the starting end slot, ahead of junior Dontril Hyman, who remains the back-up. The moves might make West Virginia's defense a touch slower, but also perhaps a better stronger against the run, provided it continues to fit up effectively, as it did through three quarters at Oklahoma last week.
"We really don't have ones and twos," said Rose, who also saw snaps at nose tackle in passing situations during fall camp. "We all rotate in and everybody get s a chance to contribute. Any chance we get to make a play we're all out there doing our job."
Still, a positional move of that magnitude is significant for Kinsey, but comes at an opportune time against a lesser foe in Georgia State. The Panthers are undersized, and haven't shown much in losses to Samford and UT-Chattanooga, which might serve to give the new back-up buck time to adjust.
"It was shocking when my number got called to play that," said Kinsey, who started both of WVU's first two games at end and totalled six tackles, 1.5 for loss. "I watched Brandon and got some pointers from him and worked with (defensive coordinator Keith) Patterson on some drops and things like that. I felt comfortable there (Tuesday). It felt natural. I want to work on it. I‘m the type of person where I want to know what my teammates are doing, I want to know what the whole defense is doing. I just want to know what my teammates are doing and where they will be in certain positions. It was easy for me to pick up some things off the bat."
Kinsey's isn't the only move. The injury to sam linebacker Doug Rigg, who was knocked unconscious by hard-hitting Mountaineer safety Karl Joseph when both went low to tackle against Oklahoma, has pushed redshirt senior and Morgantown native Tyler Anderson into a back-up role at sam from his reserve will ‘backer spot. That move allowed Sean Walters, listed as a reserve at the sam spot prior to the OU contest, to slide behind Nick Kwiatkoski at will.
Rigg, who spoke with the media Tuesday, is still listed as questionable against Georgia State. The senior, who said he suffered a similar incident in high school, leads the team in games played in at 39, with 19 starts, just behind Will Clarke's 24.
"You never know when a guy will go down and you need somebody to step up in their position," Kinsey said. "We have a few guys that can (play multiple positions). Will Clarke can easily do it. But they feel like Will is a better playmaker (at end), so they decided to move me."
Patterson said the shuffle shouldn't significantly disrupt the Mountaineers' game plan or execution. WVU played well against Oklahoma for the better part of three-plus quarters, but got worn down by the Sooner run game and an offense that couldn't produce despite benefitting from four turnovers.
"We had freshmen out on the field, and they maybe took advantage of that," Patterson said of the late-game WVU line-up. "We allowed some big runs in the second half, and that was probably the most disappointing thing. I thought the production was good and the effort was there. We allowed some cheap yardage and let some guys get out on the boundaries on us in the second half. It just boils down to doing what you're coached to do.
We had some misalignments. Everybody is talking about our rush defense and, if I'm not mistaken, for their first 30 rush attempts, they only had 115 yards. That's just like 3.2 yards per carry. And 115 yards rushing on 30 carries, that's not too bad of rush defense."