MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia's leading rusher in Saturday's Gold-Blue Game was a fraction of himself in 2012 as Dustin Garrison recovered from offseason surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Two other running backs had seven carries, but this time last year Dreamius Smith was in junior college and Wendell Smallwood was a junior in high school.
Jordan Thompson was the game's leading receiver, but he was unproductive as a freshman, so much so that his coaches did not want to grant him credit after turning six catches into 123 yards and three touchdowns in the final event of spring football.
"I don't want to talk about Jordan," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "If I talk about him, he's going to go off thinking he's got it all figured out, like he always does."
Junior college newcomer Kevin White was the receiver with a dazzling long run for a touchdown after a short reception. Two other receivers had four receptions, but Connor Arlia is just now on scholarship after two years as a walk-on while Dakiel Shorts could be getting ready for his senior prom.
Quarterback Paul Millard played the game's first three series. He was the backup last season who has thrown 34 passes in two seasons. Ford Childress, even with Millard in the quarterback derby, redshirted as a freshman last season.
This is life for WVU as it pieces together an offense that is looking to replace running back Shawne Alston, receivers Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and J.D. Woods and quarterback Geno Smith. Many of the offense's key contributors in a game the defense won 41-33 are either brand new or brandishing much larger roles in 2013.
"We'll have guys that can make plays," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "I'm very confident in that. Each and every year we've lost great players, the initial reaction is, 'How are we going to score points?' Other guys step up. We have guys who are going to step up a whole bunch."
The reality is some of those guys were at the game Saturday, but didn't play. Running back Andrew Buie missed the game with an injury. Clint Trickett, a quarterback transferring from Florida State, watched the game on an official visit and would be eligible for the fall should he pick WVU.
Even without Buie, who led the team in rushing last season, the Mountaineers are in "the best shape we've been in since I've been here" at running back, Holgorsen said. Whether Trickett joins or not, Millard has two seasons in Holgorsen's system and Childress has one. Both would benefit from an infusion of talent, which would seem to be on the way.
High school receiver Sheldon Gibson and junior college receiver Ronald Carswell were on the sidelines for the game. High school senior Jacky Marcellus and junior college receiver Mario Alford will arrive in the summer.