"Let's keep in mind that throughout all of fall camp, we thought Buie was a bit better than Garrison," Holgorsen said. "Buie just got hurt. He's a good, quality player and I'm looking forward to getting him in the lineup to see what he can do."
Tonkery may still get scooped again and by someone from another position again. True freshman Shaq Petteway has been switching with Tonkery in practice. Petteway was the backup bandit safety up until the Mountaineers learned Garvin would miss the bowl.
He's been taking rapid lessons from Garvin to get familiar with the assignments and comfortable with the surroundings. The new position puts him in new spaces.
"The bandit safety is more of an up safety and plays more against the pass," Petteway said. "The spurs safety is more of a down safety and the way Terence played it, he was really good as a blitzer and a run-stopper and covering the flats."
Petteway played linebacker at Ohio's Steubenville High School and made 301 tackles his final three seasons. The spur is a mix of linebacker and defensive back in WVU's 3-3-5. He said he feels more at home at spur, but he's fighting the instincts he was developing at bandit.
"My teammates keep pushing me to go out there and play the game like I did in high school and not try to play a perfect game," said the 6-foot, 200-pound Petteway, who is an inch shorter and five pounds lighter than Tonkery. "That's when you mess up. I just want to go out there and play the best I can."
Just like at running back, one will start and both will play. WVU's coaching staff won't reveal the starter until before kickoff.
"I want to earn it rather than be shoved into it," Tonkery said. "That makes practice more fun. It's not as hard to stay focused in practice. If I mess up something and he does it right, that's a learning experience. It helps you learn something and helps you pay attention the whole time."
Tonkery isn't the only one paying attention. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd the Tigers will challenge the spur position.
"We'll definitely take some shots," Boyd said. "That's what we do. That's the type of offense we have."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.