Alston's return may spark West Virginia offense

But no decision until RB rejoins practice

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The struggling West Virginia offense might get a shot in the arm when it plays again in two weeks -- the return of running back Shawne Alston.

The bruising back -- not only the most capable in short-yardage situations, but also a strong locker-room presence -- tweeted Monday morning that he will be back for the TCU game Nov. 3 after the team's off week.

Coach Dana Holgorsen did not exactly confirm it Monday on a Big 12 Conference coaches call, but said Alston will need to practice well before getting into a game.

Alston has been dealing with a deep thigh bruise, and has not registered a carry since the team's second game of the season.

"Uh, I don't know if he's going to be able to play or not," Holgorsen said. "It's going to take some practice time in order for him to earn some playing time and show us he's able to do it.

"He makes us better, does a good job, brings maturity, brings toughness, brings a physical side of play. He would be good to get back out there but we've got to make sure he's able to practice a little bit."

Alston tweeted Monday morning the following: "Btw [by the way] ... To the real WVU fans, ill be back for TCU ... #BirthdayGame."

The team's confidence has dipped dramatically after getting blown out two weeks in a row.

Holgorsen said his message Sunday when they returned after a 55-14 loss Saturday night was about getting mentally tough.

"My message to the team after the game was we need to grow up," Holgorsen said. "We need to become a mature football team. We got beat by a mature football team, we need to become a mature football team. We need to be mentally tough, physically tough.

"You're not going to just wake up and fix things without hard work. We've got to get back to work, get our fundamentals better. ... Have to get our confidence back and that's all three sides of the ball."

Alston will help, he said, but more players need to step up.

"He would [help]. We need more than him to get that truly accomplished from a team standpoint," Holgorsen said. "He's a guy that has a presence in the locker room. [Andrew] Buie and [Dustin] Garrison have done an adequate job of replacing him, but he brings a different style that would be helpful."

NOTES -- The time for West Virginia's game Nov. 3 against TCU will not be announced until next week, as the Big 12 TV networks exercise a six-day decision rights window. ABC/ESPN and Fox are holding four games for potential windows: Noon, 3:30 and 8 p.m. on ABC and 3:30 p.m. on Fox. The other games in contention for those times: Oklahoma at Iowa State, Oklahoma State at Kansas State, Texas at Texas Tech. ... Holgorsen said seven members of the staff will spend the off weekend recruiting in all parts of the country.

wvusports


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