MORGANTOWN-The most often question put to first-year West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen this week has been the one surrounding who would start in the backfield behind second-year starting quarterback Geno Smith.
To his credit the former-Oklahoma State offensive coordinator has never swayed in his reply to the media.
"We haven't decided yet," explained Holgorsen during Tuesday's press conference. "We've still got seven of them, which probably would be eight if Shawne Alston weren't out with his neck."
Photo by Jim Butta
Parkersburg’s Matt Lindamood, right, will be one of seven running backs first-year WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen intends to use when the No. 24 Mountaineers open their season against visiting Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl Sunday at Mountaineer Field.
One of those ball-carriers expected to see action when the No. 24 Mountaineers entertain Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday is former-Parkersburg High School all state performer Matt Lindamood.
"Coach (Holgorsen) has always said that it (starting) is going to mean more to the players than it is to the coaches," said Lindamood. "When the game time comes and they put someone on the field we'll know."
A decision the Parkersburg-native has no problem accepting.
"We're going to be fresh," added the former walk-on. "When guys get the chance, they are going to make the most of it."
Lindamood came out of spring drills as the team's No. 1 "B" -fullback-and has consistently fought off challenges from junior Ryan Clarke and senior Ricky Kovatch heading into the final days of practice before Sunday's season-opener at Milan Puskar Stadium.
"It (the Marshall game) means a lot for the state," added the player. "For us, it is our opener and we want to begin the season with a win no matter who we are playing."
A feat the Mountaineers have accomplished every year since losing to Wisconsin by a 24-17 score to open the 2003 campaign. Six of those seven victories came in the friendly confines of Mountaineer Field, including a 42-10 win over the Thundering Herd to begin the 2006 season.
"It doesn't matter who the team is," said the coach. "We're going to prepare the same way."
An approach Lindamood is taking with his role in the backfield.
"It (who will be in the backfield) just depends on what coach is thinking," said the player. "I just know that I will be ready when the coach calls my name."
In addition to the battle at the fullback slot as many as four players could see action at the "A" or tailback position.
"I really haven't seen this much talent (in the backfield) since I've been here," continued Lindamood. "Each of those guys do certain things better than the others and the coaches are doing a great job of playing them to their strengths."
Listed at No. 1 following spring drills was true freshman Vernard Roberts with sophomores Trey Johnson and Daquan Hargrett listed at the No. 2 and No. 2 slots. Hargrett departed before August camp started, but true freshmen Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie have been impressive during camp and have worked themselves into the mix as the team's primary ball-carrier.
With formations that could include one, two or even three running backs at one time, playing time may very well depend on what packages the coaching staff want to utilize during the contest.
Packages that could include using three "A"s, two "A's and a "B", two "B's and an "A" or even three "B's.
"We haven't seen it (three "B"s) in camp, but I wouldn't be opposed to it," said Lindamood. "And, I wouldn't be surprised to see the coaches use it."