For the second press conference in a row, Dana Holgorsen announced a player would be missing significant time after undergoing surgery. West Virginia true freshman Jake Long underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the entire 2016 season. Long's loss probably won't have a profound impact on the Mountaineers as there are several upperclassmen who are competing for the two starting cornerback jobs, but the news is still a significant development.
Holgorsen also said Elijah Wellman was dealing with a high ankle sprain, but said it was minor and would not cause the fullback to miss significant time. In other potentially important news Holgorsen alluded that sophomore William Crest is working exclusively at quarterback after taking repetitions with skill position players at times last year and in the spring.
"(Crest) is not needed as much (at wide receiver/running back) now, Holgorsen said. "I love the kid to death and wants to play so badly. He's a wonderful teammate and he's a kid you want to coach but it goes back to what we said - If you have enough guys that can specialize on one thing, that's how you get great (on offense). We're tired of being good on offense, we want to be great. If you want to be great on offense then you have to have guys who settle in and specialize on something and get great at that. He is playing a lot more quarterback than he is at running back wide receiver."
Holgorsen also discussed the offense and defense playing in their first live situations, saying it was competitive and back and forth between the two units. He also noted that Crest and Chris Chugunov are competing for the No. 2 quarterback spot and that the battle is wide open. While he was updating the offense Holgorsen said that his offense continues to improve in the intermediate passing game, which is something it struggled with at times last year.
"(We're working on) consistency in the passing game," Holgorsen said. "We have big play potential. We can run the football and we have big play potential. It's the intermediate stuff that we need to work on and I think it's improving."
Part of that improvement could come from moving Jovon Durante to the inside at slot receiver. Holgorsen complemented the sophomore receiver and said he is playing fast and even said he may be the fastest wide receiver on the roster, which may be surprising considering the speed of Shelton Gibson. Holgorsen also praised GIbson's work ethic and said he is improving at running intermediate routes, as opposed to just being able to run go-routes, and a large part of that is the work he has put in with Tyron Carrier.
While on the subject of wide receivers he also spoke a little bit about Marcus Simms and Steven Smothers and their progression at the receiver position. Holgorsen said Simms is closer to avoiding a redshirt than Smothers due to the advantage of participating in spring practice.