West Virginia notebook: New starters at WR, potentially QB, too

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen made wholesale changes to the depth chart Monday in hopes of jump-starting his anemic offense ahead of a Saturday matchup with Georgia State.

West Virginia never found a rhythm in a 16-7 loss Saturday to Oklahoma, marking the first time since Dec. 28, 2010 -- six days after Holgorsen was hired as offensive coordinator -- the Mountaineers were held to one score.

"I accept full responsibility for [scoring] seven points," Holgorsen said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "I don't care who we're playing, seven points is embarrassing and we need to fix it."

Paul Millard, the starter the past two weeks, is again locked in a quarterback battle with Clint Trickett and Ford Childress. Millard was 21 of 41 passing for 218 yards and an interception Saturday.

Changes at wide receiver include Kevin White, Mario Alford and Ronald Carswell supplanting K.J. Myers, Daikiel Shorts and Ivan McCartney in the starting lineup.

"They have twitch," Holgorsen said of the new starters. "They have something that the others don't have.

"After watching the [season-opening] William & Mary game, I was quite convinced that we were the slowest receiving corps in the country."

Holgorsen maintains that the West Virginia offense still has "the potential to be better than last year," when the Mountaineers averaged 39.5 points per game -- more than double the 15.5-point average through two games this season.

"There's potential on offense," Holgorsen said before pausing. "That word [potential] disturbs me; I don't like it very much."

Report: DeForest paid players

A Sports Illustrated investigative project released Tuesday morning named associate head coach Joe DeForest as the ringleader of an alleged bonus program at Oklahoma State that existed as recently as 2011.

The report claims that in DeForest's 11 seasons in Stillwater, Okla., a number of players received cash payments from DeForest for their on-field performance and for jobs they did not perform.

DeForest, in his second season with the Mountaineers, denied the claims.

"I have never paid a player for on-field performance," DeForest told Sports Illustrated. "I have been coaching college football for almost 24 years, and I have built a reputation of being one of the best special teams coordinators and college recruiters in the country based on hard work and integrity."

The West Virginia athletic department is conducting an internal investigation.

Neither coaches nor administrators will speak on the subject until the investigation is complete.

Eger to start

The Mountaineers' jack of all trades on the offensive line, Thomas Jefferson graduate Pat Eger, is back in the starting lineup.

Eger, a redshirt senior from Jefferson Hills, has 19 career starts and replaces redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky as the starting center. He has also served as a team captain for the first two games of the season.

"Pat's been playing really, really well," Holgorsen said. "It's as good as I've seen him play, not even close. He's one of the few vocal leaders we have on offense. He deserves to start."

Injury report

Doug Rigg, a senior linebacker, was carted off the field Saturday after a scary collision. Fortunately, Rigg was diagnosed only with a mild concussion and is questionable to play this weekend.

"He's still a little foggy," Holgorsen said. "But he's going to be fine."

Sophomore safety K.J. Dillon (knee) and redshirt sophomore linebacker Isaiah Bruce (unknown) are listed as day-to-day.


Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt. First Published September 11, 2013 4:00 AM


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