WVU football: Jenkins gone, other changes at corner position
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- In addition to the rather obvious distinction given to Ford Childress as the team's starting quarterback a week after he shared it with the two who are now his backups, West Virginia's depth chart for Saturday's game against Maryland contains one notable change.
Senior cornerback Brodrick Jenkins is absent, replaced by sophomore Terrell Chestnut for the 3:30 p.m. game at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium (ESPNU).
Coach Dana Holgorsen said at his weekly press conference Tuesday that Jenkins is no longer with the team because of an "internal" matter. It leaves the Mountaineers with six cornerbacks on scholarship.
Chestnut, who had a knee injury in the Pinstripe Bowl that required surgery in January, is the backup behind Travis Bell at the boundary position.
"We're excited about Terrell," Holgorsen said. "He's been doing a good job. His knee is healing, so we've been wanting to get him more involved. We'll have him in there. Avery Williams is another guy who will be getting some reps this week at corner. Daryl Worley played a good bit last week and he's got tremendous, tremendous upside as a starting corner here for a long time."
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Jenkins, from Fort Myers, Fla., played in 13 games in 2010 and 2011 and started four times as a sophomore. He missed four games last season with injuries and started seven times.
He has not played this season.
Chestnut, from Pottstown, Pa., missed the first two games and participated in only one play against Georgia State. The 5-11, 175-pound Chestnut assisted on a tackle covering a kickoff that ended the game.
He didn't play until the TCU game last season, the third of five straight losses for the Mountaineers, but he played in the last six games and started the final three.
Williams, a sophomore from Washington, D.C., missed all of last season with a neck injury that also required surgery. He hasn't played at all this season.
Holgorsen said Worley would be the first name called if a backup was needed.
"He does some things out there athletically that I don't see happening very often," Holgorsen said. "He's got loads of potential. He can be an every-down player. It's only a matter of time, whether it happens this year or next year or whenever."
WVU hasn't asked much of backups this season. Ishmael Banks and Bell have played 182 and 178 total plays this season, respectively. Safeties Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph, who have not come out of a game on defense, have played 195. Worley has only played 43, and most of that came last week as a nickel back the Mountaineers might again need this week.
"We haven't seen the throwing threat we will this week with the way those guys throw the ball around and have big-play potential," Holgorsen said. "This will be a different challenge, but I'm excited to see how those guys respond."
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A WEEK AFTER injuries mounted before and during the Georgia State game, the Mountaineers are relatively healthy. Holgorsen said linebacker Isaiah Bruce (thigh) could have played against the Panthers and is cleared to practice this week.
Also cleared to return are linebacker Doug Rigg (concussion), fullback Garrett Hope (concussion) and defensive back K.J. Dillon (knee), who all missed last week's game. Backup nose guard Christian Brown left the game with what Holgorsen called a minor leg injury, but he's expected to practice and play this week.
Holgorsen also said linebacker Jewone Snow is almost ready to become a part of the defense's plans. Snow, a junior from Canton, Ohio, has battled shoulder problems throughout his career - Holgorsen called him "year-to-year" in August - but he was the team's defensive scout team player of the week Sunday.
"The last two weeks, he's been functional on the scout team, Holgorsen said. "We're going to give him a shot to play a few special teams to see how reacts to that."
In addition to injuries to Rigg and Bruce that caused a series of maneuvers to fill positions and address depth, the Mountaineers had season-ending injuries to linebackers Shaq Petteway in August and Dozie Ezemma in the first game. Petteway was on the kickoff, kick return, punt and punt return teams and Ezemma was on three of the four.
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HOLGORSEN AGAIN listed junior college transfers Kevin White and Ronald Carswell as starting outside receivers and Mario Alford as the starting inside receiver a week after giving each their first career starts.
White had two receptions for 17 yards and two drops, one that was a certain touchdown. Alford had four catches for 33 yards and added 22 yards rushing, but also ran a route that contributed to Childress' lone interception. Carswell caught three passes for 66 yards and added 100 yards in punt and kickoff returns.
Carswell averages 23 yards per catch and has three of WVU's 10 pass plays covering at least 20 yards, including the longest and three of the four covering 30 or more yards.
The demoted players responded better. K.J. Myers relieved White after the missed opportunity in the end zone and had six receptions 64 yards. Ivan McCartney, replaced by Carswell, caught a 45-yard touchdown pass and added a 21-yard catch. Daikiel Shorts, supplanted by Alford, caught five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
"I specifically said I was going to start these three guys because these three guys bring something to the table the other three don't possess, which is big play potential," Holgorsen said. "Now, did we see that out of a couple of those guys? No, but that's why I also said Daikiel, K.J. and Ivan are going to play a whole bunch and they need to keep improving. I was really proud of all three of them."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.