Thomas remains the school's all-time leading rusher (4,585 yards), still well ahead of Randle's 2,602 yards. Barry Sanders owns the school of 48 rushing touchdowns and Thomas is No. 3 with 43 rushing touchdowns. Randle already has 35.
"Both are very intelligent, cerebral football players," Gundy said. "Both are good runners. They're not going to be great, breakaway speed players, but they're both very effective at getting good runs. And they're both good in other areas. They're good pass protectors. They've got good hands. They receive the ball. Both players are good in all those areas."
Randle has caught 21 passes and blocked in a shotgun offense that has allowed only four sacks in eight games, despite playing with three different quarterbacks. He flocked to the versatility the Cowboys (5-3, 3-2) promised before his freshman year, when Gundy hired Holgorsen to install the offense. Randall has thrived ever since.
"It makes me more valuable to the offense," he said. "It's a quarterback-friendly league now. Football has changed to a quarterback's game. I want to try to be helpful to the quarterback by being able to block, by being a good check-down so they know you can make something positive happen if everyone is being covered down the field and also by just being able to run the ball."
There is a stigma attached to all this and the idea is spreading across college football. Where once there were system quarterbacks and receivers who put up huge numbers in offenses that were catered to the college game and didn't transition to the NFL, there are now thought to be system running backs.
Those players are seen as the benefactors of the attention defenses give to the quarterbacks and receivers. Therefore, doubt exists as to whether players who ran and caught the ball and blocked for the quarterback can adapt and excel in the NFL's running games.
Randall shrugs the shoulders atop his 6 foot, 1 inch, 200-pound frame.
"It doesn't bother me," he said. "If that's a bad thing, if being well-rounded is a negative, I'll take that. I think I'm more of a play maker."
Randle, who had 1,216 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns and added two scores and 266 yards receiving on 43 catches last season, needs 66 yards rushing against WVU to become the sixth player in school history with more than one 1,000-yard season. Sanders never did that, though Thomas, Hunter, Tatum Bell David Thompson and 1977 Heisman Trophy runner-up Terry Miller have.
Miller is the only Cowboys player to have three 1,000-yard seasons, which Randall figures to have a shot at next season. He remains focused on completing his work as a player.
"I'm not where I want to be yet," he said. "I'm still living paycheck to paycheck right now. I'm trying to get to where I'm not living like that. That's why I keep working hard."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.