HARBOR BEACH, Fla. - A day after West Virginia confirmed starting running back Dustin Garrison will miss the Orange Bowl with a knee injury, Coach Dana Holgorsen commented through the game's organizers Saturday that the Mountaineers will move on without the freshman.
"It's an unfortunate situation for Dustin, but it is one that we will have to deal with as a team," Holgorsen said in a press release. "It is not something that we are unfamiliar with as we have had to deal with adversity all season long.
"This marks our third key player out for the bowl game with a knee injury, but I expect our team to maintain its focus as we prepare for Clemson."
The Mountaineers will also play the Tigers without starting safety Terence Garvin and backup nose guard Josh Taylor.
Garrison, from Pearland, Texas, sprained the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during Friday's practice. He led the team in rushing with 742 yards and added six touchdowns on 136 carries during the regular season.
Only defensive players were available for interviews at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Saturday, but those Mountaineers were under the impression Garrison suffered a non-contact injury.
"Garrison is a good guy, a true freshman who had a great season, and we just feel bad for him," said senior defensive end Bruce Irvin. "We didn't get to see the incident - we were with the defense on the other side of the field - but we heard about it. It's an unfortunate situation."
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Clemson first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris has only been coaching college football for two seasons now. A year ago, he was at Tulsa, but spent the previous 16 years coaching at the high school level in Texas.
Morris won 82 percent of his games and three state titles - two with Lake Travis and one with Bay City. Morris went 169-38 and won a coach of the year award 11 times. Lake Travis was 16-0 in 2008 and 2009 and ranked No. 2 by USA Today in 2008 and No. 9 the year after.
It was in Texas where he first met WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen, who spent the first 10 years of his 12-year coaching career at the Division I level in Texas at Texas Tech (2000-07) and Houston (2008-09). They coached against one another in 2010 and Oklahoma State beat Tulsa.
"I had met Dana at a couple clinics down in College Station at the Lone Star Clinic," Morris said. "I met him there and listened to him speak. Obviously his time at the University of Houston they'd recruit in our areas. And then when he moved on to Oklahoma State, we played against him when I was at Tulsa.