MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia, a team still reeling from a 47-40 overtime loss Saturday to Texas, was dealt a double dose of bad news Tuesday: linebackers Jared Barber and KJ Dillon will miss the remainder of the season.
A rash of injuries has decimated the Mountaineers roster, particularly at the quarterback position and on defense, leaving West Virginia (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) with depth concerns.
“We’re pretty beat up, but it’s Game 11 — everyone’s beat up,” coach Dana Holgorsen said at his weekly Tuesday news conference.
Barber will have surgery this week for an injured knee ligament. Dillon, who was moved from safety to linebacker, was released from intensive care Tuesday, Holgorsen said, after suffering from “severe dehydration.”
Both players had been listed as starters at linebacker on the depth chart; instead, they now join a group of six other linebackers who have missed time because of injury this season. The Mountaineers start four linebackers each game, yet only Brandon Golson, a junior, has started every game this fall.
West Virginia already yanked the redshirt from freshman defensive end Darrien Howard two weeks ago, but Holgorsen said with only two games remaining the Mountaineers will rely on backups and former special teams-only players to patch holes in the depth chart.
“We’ve got bodies,” Holgorsen said. “Are they seasoned vets? No, but we’ve got to line ’em up and go play anyway.”
The picture at quarterback is still cloudy at best. Redshirt junior Clint Trickett started the past six games, but he was knocked out in the first quarter against Texas, replaced by junior Paul Millard.
Despite the head injury, Holgorsen said Trickett looked much-improved Monday and “we anticipate Clint coming back and being fine.”
With redshirt freshman Ford Childress still on the mend with a torn pectoral muscle — “he’s closer to 90 percent now,” Holgorsen said — it’s conceivable that West Virginia’s backup quarterback Saturday against Kansas (2-7, 0-6) could be redshirt junior tight end Logan Moore, who was a two-year starting quarterback at Fairmont State before transferring last fall and switching to tight end.
Goodbye to Clements
Holgorsen was watching game film Monday, preparing for the Jayhawks, when he got the news that former West Virginia president Jim Clements would take over as president of Clemson University.
It was Clements who gave athletic director Oliver Luck the go-ahead to bring Holgorsen to Morgantown in 2010.
“It’s disappointing news for WVU,” Holgorsen said. “Jim’s a great ally and friend who has done a tremendous job for WVU. We thank him for all his hard work and support and wish him luck.”
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.