Spring football is finally here and we can now take a look forward at the crucial month leading up to the 2013 West Virginia spring game.
The Mountaineers will begin their spring football festivities on March 10. Five weeks and about 100 practice hours later, WVU will host its annual "Gold-Blue Game" on Saturday, April 20.
So for the next five weeks filled with 20-hour practice days, the Mountaineers will battle for pecking order on the depth chart for the 2013 season.
In the meantime, we'll take a look at what to expect over the next five weeks and check out what was said by head coach Dana Holgorsen during his pre-spring press conference from March 5.
Date: Saturday, April 20
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EDT
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium
TV Info: TBA
All eyes will of course be on the quarterback position, as West Virginia will stage its first quarterback battle since Pat White took the reins in the early 2000s.
However, based on what Holgorsen said during his pre-spring presser, the position won't be decided for quite a while (via WVUSports.com).
The Mountaineers should be set at running back, however, with two successful returners in Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie. Additionally, newcomers Dreamius Smith and Wendell Smallwood will figure into the mix as well.
Depending on how the spring and summer goes, Smith could enter the season as the No. 1 option in the backfield.
In front of them, the WVU offensive line will look much different from 2012 and will take shape as the offseason rolls along.
Quinton Spain figures to be the leader of the group along with Pat Eger, who could be moved to the center slot left vacant by Joey Madsen.
On the outside, there are plenty of players vying for what looks like four wide open spots on the depth chart. Early favorites are junior college transfer Kevin White and a pair of returners K.J. Myers and Devonte Mathis.
Even more talent will enter the race this summer, as a pair of stud receivers in Mario Alford and Shelton Gibson will make their way to campus.
West Virginia will have plenty of returners on defense, which is certainly good news.
Isaiah Bruce and Karl Joseph will lead the charge yet again along with a pair of seniors on the defensive line in Shaq Rowell and Will Clarke.
The third defensive line spot will be up for grabs, but there is a nice crop of experienced players who will be competing for the opening.
The story is similar at linebacker, where Bruce will return along with numerous seasoned tacklers. Additionally, the Mountaineers were able to add a talented young group of linebackers who will compete for time at the position as well.
Most of the defensive attention will be on the secondary, where Joseph will lead a group that will be playing with a big chip on their shoulders after an ugly 2012 campaign.
Joseph and Darwin Cook both return at safety as likely starters. At corner, Brodrick Jenkins figures to be the top option, though he still has some room to live up to his potential.
There will be plenty of competition at all levels of the defense, where WVU should be much improved in 2013.
A video and transcription of West Virginia's spring football press conference can be seen at WVUSports.com.
Spring Injury Report:
Out: Dante Campbell (WR), Terrell Chestnut (DB)
Non-Contact: Avery Williams (DB), Jewone Snow (DL/LB)
Day-to-Day: Pat Eger (OL), Wes Tonkery (LB)
Holgorsen on the QB battle:
We won’t name a starter for a while. We have three or four guys there – Paul Millard, Ford Childress and Chavas Rawlins, who is doing a great job in the offseason. He has got some talent to him. Logan Moore from Fairmont is doing some good things in the offseason. We will give those guys a bunch of different reps and kind of see where we end up...It is not where they are at right now, it is where they end up in six months.
Holgorsen on Coaching Changes:
It hasn’t affected us one bit. Defensively, we had our staff set right there around the (coaches’) convention, so those guys have been meeting for seven weeks. We feel like we are in great shape there. Offensively, I don’t know if you guys know this or not, but we have run the same offense for a while. Coach Dawson and I are continuously looking at it to see what we have to do to be better, but from a coaching change standpoint, it’s nothing to worry about.