"He was deemed to have qualified," head coach Rich Rodriguez said, "but now he has to retake the test because it was two years ago and they have to verify the test. There are clearinghouse issues, but I am not sure he was going to be in the two-deep right now, anyway. Boogie is going to play this year. He will battle for that fourth cornerback spot and also play some special teams."
Linebacker J.T. Thomas and fullback Max Anderson are the other true freshmen that will play. The Mountaineers will hold their annual student body tryouts Wednesday at 6 a.m. WVU discovered transfer Damien Crissey via that session and offered the one-time Edinboro player a walk-on chance. Crissey, of late, has pressed former guard-turned-tackle Ryan Stancheck for the left spot, showing better toughness and physicality. WVU's walk-ons have all been cleared, both physically via a check-up and academically by the clearinghouse.
On the injury front, it is hoped that spur Ridwan Malik, who suffered a hip sprain, will be back next week. He is questionable for the Sept. 2 opener against Marshall. Defensive tackle Doug Slavonic is at least two weeks away and is doubtful for the opener with a foot sprain. Fellow d-lineman Keilen Dykes will not practice today with a concussion, and linebacker Bobby Hathaway remains a few days away from drills with a foot infection.
Receiver Dorrell Jalloh remains limited (foot), as does linebacker Mortty Ivy (knee), who appears increasingly doubtful for the opener. The latter two have not went full-go for the majority of fall drills, and in Ivy's case, has yet to be cleared for full contact at all since his spring ACL tear. Greg Isdaner did practice Monday, and, though he was a little sore, played well. He is battling for a guard sport, and, by this time next week, the staff will have a good idea of who the five starting offensive linemen will be. That and the rise of Crissey has given WVU more confidence about depth and flexibility.
West Virginia has begun to install specifics for Marshall. WVU will begin the prep on Thursday or Friday with approximately 25 minutes per session, then will amp up the work the week of the game. The Mountaineers had a very solid first practice back on Monday, though a few players missed because of class. The administrative portion of getting athletes to class went well. WVU went two hours in full pads, and nobody else was hurt.
"We know we are going to take everybody's best shot," Rodriguez said. "When you build a program you should expect that, and we expect to take Marshall's best shot. There is always a worry in the first game that you are not sure how people will play you, and with our schemes in the no-huddle and the odd stack, teams play us differently anyway, so you really have to be ready, as a staff, for any adjustments. It usually takes a series or two to see how teams play us.
"People talk about teams loading up the box, but they have been doing that or two years. We have really been working on the pass, but we are thin out there right now. They key will be keeping players like Brandon Myles, Darius Reynaud and Jeremy Bruce healthy because they are some of our biggest playmakers."
Freshman receiver Wes Lyons is questionable for the opener with an injury to his right hand. The sprain/bone chip that has limited how well he catches. With his progress further slowed, WVU will not make a decision on if he plays this season or not until the second or third game of the year, if then. Much will depend upon how the rest of the two-deep develops.
Notes: *The first day of classes went very smooth from an administrative standpoint, but several players missed classes because of unanticipated traffic (worst in years when construction if factored). Some also could not find them, and Rodriguez says the staff fielded several panicked phone calls, especially after the PRT broke down. It is not expected to harm any academic standings (a la one being dropped if they miss in the first week).
*Jason Colson, who has yet to take a rep at the slot wideout position because of thinning tailback depth, will begin to do so this week. TB Jet Best is not expected to play at all in the opener because of missed practices, but Ed Collington has worked back. The tailbacks, of now, are Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt and then Colson.
*The backup quarterback situation is even, and the Mountaineers think both Nate Sowers and Jarrett Brown are to the point where they can play them. Also, Tito Gonzales is battling Rayshawn Bolden at the Z-wideout spot. Gonzales is faster, and is playing tougher, mentally and physically, that he did last year. His technique has also improved.
*Quinton Andrews has pulled ahead of Abraham Jones in the battle for the free safety spot. It was nothing Jones did, but recently Andrews has elevated his play. Jones will see time, and Rodriguez cautioned that all this is just for now. It could change through this week and the next. "We are shaping up ok," Rodriguez said, "but you'd like to have a few more players with experience all over. But they will get it eventually."
*Slaton can take 25-30 touches per game, likely 25 carries and, perhaps, five other touches. Slaton has added enough weight and muscle to take an increased pounding.