Depth, Snap Counts Remain Issues For WVU Wideouts

WVU’s Depth Scarcity At Receiver Now Same As It Was In Fall Camp

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There seems to be an ongoing fascination with West Virginia’s lack of receiver depth.

It keeps getting drudged up, but always seems to settle back like sands and silt. Here’s a secret: The issue isn’t going away this season. West Virginia has four receivers it’s comfortable playing in Gary Jennings, David Sills, Marcus Simms and Ka’Raun White. It has a fifth in true freshman Reggie Roberson who will play a handful of snaps a game.

Barring injury, it’s unlikely any other wideouts see extensive time the remainder of the regular season. There are two hang-ups with this. First, the injury issue with painfully little insurance. The second aspect is fatigue.

West Virginia wide receiver Gary Jennings cuts across the field

“When we get deep into these games, then guys get tired,” receivers coach Tyron Carrier said. “We need the younger guys to start stepping up and show us who they are. I’ve got some pretty good receivers out there. The main thing is that it’s kind of hard to take them off at times. They’re such competitors. It’s my job to keep them under control and keep their reps down a little bit, but those guys don’t want to miss a play. It’s hard because those guys deserve to be out there.”

But as the snap counts continue to rise – and it appears they will in facing foes like Oklahoma State who run nearly point-a-minute offenses – one must also factor in that the receivers are also on some special teams units.

“We have to find some more depth because Ka’Raun, David and Gary are playing 90 snaps a game including special teams,” Spavital said. “They are great kids, but throughout the course of a long season that can wear down athletes. We are monitoring them and making sure we cut down reps in practice.”

As head coach Dana Holgorsen noted, this been an ongoing issue since the opening of fall camp. It takes time and reps to develop players, and at the stage the likes of Dominique Maiden and Alejandro Marenco aren’t ready while Ricky Rogers and William Crest never quite developed to the level where they could contribute consistently.

“Can we go back to what I said August 1? How many more times do I have to continue to complain about it?,” Holgorsen said. “Depth is still an issue. It’s an issue at receiver. It’s an issue at o-line.  It was addressed after the game. It needs to happen now. It needed to happen two months ago, so we are going to focus on a lot of those second team guys. Whatever is preventing them from helping us win, we are addressing it now.”

Holgorsen also mentioned the lack of contributions from the reserve running backs against the likes of TCU. While Justin Crawford rushed 19 times for 111 yards, Kennedy McKoy carried seven times for just 12 yards, while Martell Pettaway had five runs for 10 yards. That’s an average of two yards or less per carry, with a long run of five yards – not the production the Mountaineers need in backing Crawford. That was remedied a bit versus Texas Tech, when McKoy was able to finish of the final drive with some needed work.

Holgorsen said he believes WVU has “some good backs that for whatever reason aren’t doing what we need them to do.” Spavital did explain the absence of McKoy – considering among the most versatile skill players and an excellent fit at slot receiver – from the passing game.

“We felt we needed to get our best receivers in the game when we went 10 personnel and when we got into passing downs,” said Spavital, explaining WVU’s common one-back, four-receiver alignment. “Kennedy is an exceptional guy, but he is not in that receiver room the entire time. In a game like that, your technique and fundamentals are key to getting open. Let Kennedy spell Crawford because we knew he would get tired and wear down because we were going to give him a lot of touches.”

Home forums Depth, Snap Counts Remain Issues For WVU Wideouts

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    WVU’s Depth Scarcity At Receiver Now Same As It Was In Fall Camp MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There seems to be an ongoing fascination with West Virginia’s lac
    [See the full post at: Depth, Snap Counts Remain Issues For WVU Wideouts]


    It’s always the question – do you want a couple of great ones or a bunch of good one? I’ll take a couple of great ones and pray there are no injuries.


    I never really paid attention to this issue back in 2012 when Stedman and Tavon were tearing up defenses.  How much rest did those guys get?  It seemed to me like they were always on the field, but maybe it just felt that way because they were always making big plays when they were in.


    The same was true in 2014 with Kevin White and Mario Alford. They were just too good to take off the field. That’s the same case this year with Sills, Ka’Raun, Gary Jennings and Marcus Simms. It may be nice to give them a little rest at times, but I’m not sure if I want them off the field at any point in a tight game, rest or not.


    WHy not use McKoy for a number of plays earlier in the game and thus keep some freshness among the stalwarts later?

    Same with Roberson – the defense is not going to key on those guys so they might even make a few plays.

    Perhaps the logic needs to be flipped on its head and re-examined?


    Absolutely would rather have a couple studs than a whole bunch of pretty good WR’s.   The studs will make the plays…..  Sills is a stud. White is a stud.  Jennings is a stud.  Most of the others are FR.  Give them time.



    Butler, that isn’t kinda missing the point. The studs need a rest at times and the coaches are clearly saying it’s tough to take them out late as they have no reliable replacements, particularly in critical situations. That is why I was proposing more reps for McKoy and Roberson earlier in games to keep the others fresh and perhaps even catch the defense sleeping on them while focusing on the other, established guys. Just a thought. Anything better than wearing the studs down over and over.

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