West Virginia heads into open week looking to physically heal, mentally prepare for second half of season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's focus this week won't be as much on football as it will on healing and mentally readying for the second half of the season.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday that cornerback Terrell Chestnut has been battling an ongoing shoulder problem throughout the season, and had tried to play through it until he was hit in the first half against Baylor. That forced the senior out of the game, and ushered in Rasul Douglas and Rick Rumph at the corners, along with Daryl Worley, who was also pulled for a series after blowing a coverage along the Mountaineer sidelines. Holgorsen also noted that center Tyler Orlosky was banged up, along with Yodny Cajuste and Wendell Smallwood, who still hasn't practiced over the last few weeks.

West Virginia hopes to have all the players available for next Thursday's game at TCU, though it seems Chestnut's injury could be an ongoing problem that might sideline him for extended periods. Holgorsen also noted that placekicker Josh Lambert worked through an injury in the preseason, then wasn't feeling well for the last game at Baylor, where he uncharacteristically missed a midrange attempt before the half. 

Aside from those issues, Holgorsen said the Mountaineers were in solid shape mentally, especially after taking Sunday and Monday off to get away from the game. West Virginia will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before a heavy lifting session on Thursday. It will then take Friday off before beginning game preparation for the No. 4 Horned Frogs. Holgorsen said he believes in what West Virginia is doing offensively, and said Skyler Howard and the wideouts showed some improvement in the intermediate passing game at Baylor. Holgorsen has decided to leave David Sills at receiver, which cements William Crest aas the back-up quarterback, with Chris Chugunov sliding into the third team spot.

The most recently released depth chart has Sills ahead of freshman Jovon Durante at outside reciever, though both will play. Holgorsen said he believes Shelton Gibson is getting close to being able to contribute more big plays,and that the offense overall is where he expected it to be aat this point in the season. Defensively, he listed the keys as consistency and a continual effort, and he said that there have been "good things" on special teams. Overall, the sentiment of the fan base seems to be disappointment, though only the Oklahoma State outcome was different from what most pundits expected thus far in the season. Now, however, both Texas and Texas Tech appear to be biggger challenges that expected, and it would seem that WVU needs to win at least two of the next three to set itself up for what most would define as a successful season.

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