MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The West Virginia University secondary has allowed an average of 452.7 yards per game in three Big 12 contests.
It can't get worse, right?
Well, the 17th-ranked Mountaineers (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) will be without their top cornerback, Brodrick Jenkins, for this Saturday's home game (7 p.m., WVAH) against No. 4 Kansas State (6-0, 3-0).
The 5-foot-10, 183-pound junior has a cartilage tear in a knee and will be sidelined indefinitely.
"You lose your best corner and move on and put the next guy in," said Joe DeForest, WVU's first-year defensive coordinator.
True freshmen Ricky Rumph and Nana Kyrehmeh are in the mix to start opposite senior Pat Miller on national television Saturday night. The options are few and shifting a player from another position - like free safety Ishmael Banks - thins the depth elsewhere.
"Obviously guys aren't excited being without Brodrick for a while, but they are excited about playing time," cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts said. "We'll see who emerged by the end of the week and they'll be playing on Saturday.
"It's a wide-open race."
Bumps and bruises and other physical maladies are testing West Virginia's depth at the mid-point of the regular season schedule.
Jenkins won't play, and offensive lineman Jeff Braun and wide receiver Stedman Bailey are considered day-to-day. Running back Shawne Alston has been listed as such for one month, but there are a couple capable proven commodities in the backfield.
Bailey, the nation's leader in touchdown receptions (14), may have an uncertain status, but it is certain that second-year Coach Dana Holgorsen will put true freshman Travares Copeland in the lineup against Kansas State.
The 5-foot-10, 178-pounder said he will start at the H receiver position, a spot most often occupied by fellow rookie Jordan Thompson.
Copeland is capable of playing outside, as is true freshman Devonte Robinson (6-2, 184), who hasn't yet had his redshirt torched.
That could change Saturday.
There have been 22 first-time players see game action this season, including 11 true freshmen.
Those numbers could swell this weekend.