Wide receiver Ivan McCartney left the West Virginia football team for personal reasons, the university said Monday. He is the second player to leave the team in less than a week.
McCartney, a junior and a high school teammate of quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Stedman Bailey at Miramar High School in Miami, Fla., did not make the trip with the team for a game Saturday at Oklahoma State.
His departure was made official Monday when a short statement was issued by the university. The statement also said coach Dana Holgorsen would have no further comment.
Freshman Travares Copeland, another wide receiver, left the team last week for personal reasons. Copeland was to be redshirted until coaches used him in the second half of the Oct. 13 game against Texas Tech when Bailey suffered an ankle injury. Copeland started the next two games but his departure was announced Thursday.
The absence of both against Oklahoma State meant little-used receivers Conor Arilia and Ryan Nehlen were thrust into the lineup.
Both had some key catches against the Cowboys, including Nehlen's touchdown interception from backup quarterback Paul Millard.
Millard entered the game for one snap when Smith's helmet came off and he had to leave the field.
McCartney had nine catches for 112 yards this season.
About an hour before McCartney's departure was announced, Holgorsen said on a Big 12 Conference coaches call that the upcoming game against Oklahoma still is anticipated around Morgantown.
Just a couple of months ago it was billed as "the game" of the season by many pundits who expected the game to have potential Big 12 championship implications. A title and Bowl Championships Series berth is still within reach for the Sooners, but the Mountaineers' four-game losing streak has forced the team to simply try to become bowl-eligible.
"I think people are pretty excited about it, they've had it circled for a while, just because Oklahoma is such a storied program over the last hundred years," Holgorsen said.
He said his team is "fine" and "still motivated."
"Thought our effort last week was good," Holgorsen said. "It better be. We've got a top-10 team coming to Morgantown. It'll be on national TV and we've got to play good."
Oklahoma's defense will pose a new challenge for the Mountaineers, Holgorsen said.
"It's a different approach than what we've faced over the last six or seven games. We've seen a lot of zone coverage. A lot of drop seven, drop six. These guys are a man-coverage team," he said. "They've got tremendous athletes. They got big, thick guys up front who do a great job against the run. It's going to be one-on-one matchups all over the place. We've got to do a good job of winning those.
"I'm kind of excited about it actually. We haven't faced really anything different for quite some time. This is a different style. [Oklahoma defensive coordinator] Mike Stoops is a great defensive football coach."
First Published November 13, 2012 5:45 AM