MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Running back Dustin Garrison had a setback last week in his recovery from December's ACL tear and isn't certain for Saturday's season-opener or beyond.
Mountaineers Coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday Garrison was sore last week and needed a few days off to feel right again. Garrison, who ran for a team-high 742 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman, tore his left ACL in the team's first practice in Miami before the Orange Bowl.
"The plan all along was to get him to game week and get him out there and see what happens," Holgorsen said. "We haven't made a decision to this point."
Senior Shawne Alston was named the starter last week and Holgorsen said sophomore Andrew Buie is "doing a good job for us." WVU's trouble is with depth, though, especially given injury histories for Alston and Buie. Alston's previous two seasons were hindered by knee and neck injuries. Buie missed time last season after taking big hits early.
Freshman Torry Clayton withdrew from school and returned home over the weekend. That leaves D'Vontis Arnold, a freshman walk-on from Florida's Miramar High, as the only other player at the position, though it appears Ryan Clarke, a bigger, blocking back who didn't touch the ball once last season, could have an expanded role.
Clarke's versatility is aided by the development of his backup, former linebacker Donovan Miles. Sophomore Cody Clay can play the position, as well as tight end.
"We've got quite a few bodies, but we're going to need every one of them, that's for sure," Holgorsen said.
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HOLGORSEN SAID he watched all of Marshall's 2011 games on film last week to familiarize himself with the opponent. That includes sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato, who Holgorsen complimented before making an unusual hint that what Holgorsen saw on film might not be what he sees on the field Saturday.
"I guess the question is, 'Which offense are they going to run?'" Holgorsen said. "There's been some speculation on that. Hopefully he's learning a second offense in as many years."
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THE MOST recent depth chart shows six first-team players who have started at least nine games on defense, plus a few others who had a handful starts and significant playing time in reserve roles. Holgorsen said the Mountaineers will nevertheless be young on defense, especially up front, where four or five true freshmen will play either defensive line or linebacker.
"We knew we'd have a strange combination of guys who are returning starters and who have never played and we have several redshirted freshmen who are in the same boat as the true freshman guys who have never played," Holgorsen said.
"We knew we'd need a lot of depth on defense and we purposely tried the best we possibly could in recruiting to get out there and see which guys could adjust to the college game. We feel like seven, eight, nine true freshmen could play based on need."
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