The first 2013 West Virginia football depth chart is finally here as a precursor to the upcoming Gold-Blue spring game on April 20.
With that information, this week's stock report will be a little bit different, as it will mostly be comprised of depth-chart analysis.
Be warned though, as head coach Dana Holgorsen told the media before its release, the depth chart is nothing if not tentative at this point—and it'll likely see a number of changes before it is finalized in the fall (via WVUSports.com).
Having said that, let's dive right in and take a look at the Mountaineers' initial depth chart and a few other notes from spring practice.
Via Geoff Coyle | WVIllustrated
QB: Ford Childress -OR-
Paul Millard -OR-
RB: Andrew Buie
HB: Cody Clay
X: K.J. Myers
Y: Connor Arlia
Z: Kevin White
LT: Quinton Spain
LG: Marquis Lucas
C: Pat Eger
RG: Mark Glowinski
RT: Curtis Feigt
Via Geoff Coyle | WVIllustrated
DE: Will Clarke
NT: Shaq Rowell
DE: Kyle Rose
Sam: Isaiah Bruce
Will: Nick Kwiatkoski
Buck: Dozie Ezemma
Spur: Wes Tonkery
FS: Karl Joseph
SS: Darwin Cook
FC: Nana Kyeremeh
BC: Brodrick Jenkins
As a quick note, according to Coyle, Holgorsen hand wrote the offensive and defensive depth charts on two pieces of WVU letterhead, showing just how tentative this depth chart is.
And starting from the top, Holgorsen made it clear that this quarterback battle is far from over, as it was the only position on either depth chart with an "or," emphasizing the fact that any of the three names could be considered for a start.
In reality, it seems to be just a two-man race between Childress and Millard, who have been splitting the first-team reps equally this spring.
Moving on to running back, there isn't much surprise here even despite Dreamius Smith coming in at the bottom of the list. Being the back with the biggest upside, Smith could rise to the top by the fall as he becomes more familiar with the system.
Regardless, expect all three of these runners to share touches once the season starts.
No surprise at the H-back position, where Cody Clay looks to have a strong hold on the starting spot, even though he does have a capable backup in Will Johnson.
There's a bit of an interesting change from last year's depth chart, which usually listed four wide receivers last season. This speaks to the talent of Clay in the backfield and to the fact that the WVU wide receiver corps is yet to be locked down, as a couple of very talented newcomers will be joining the fray in the summer.
Aside from that, there isn't too much surprise here either. Right now, it looks like JUCO transfer Kevin White could blossom into one of the offense's go-to playmakers.
Dante Campbell is the most notable name missing from this depth chart, but as Holgorsen reported in his press conference this week, he is out until July with a shoulder injury (via WVUSports.com).
The offensive line group is pretty straightforward and devoid of surprises.
The three most experienced returners—Quinton Spain, Pat Eger and Curtis Feigt—all have their hands on a (tentative) starting role.
Joining them are Mark Glowinski and Marquis Lucas, who both were on the fast track to take the two remaining open slots.
Glowinski, a JUCO transfer, redshirted last season and has two years of eligibility left. He could end up being one of WVU's most reliable blockers this year.
Lucas, on the other hand, has emerged as the best of the next wave of young WVU offensive linemen—a group that includes Russell Haughton-James, Tyler Orlosky and others.
The best part of the offensive line group will be depth, brought by the two reserves mentioned above, along with Nick Kindler, Tony Matteo and others.
Very little surprise here. Seniors Will Clarke and Shaq Rowell not only are sure starters, but also could be the two biggest leaders on this entire defense.
I had previously predicted that Christian Brown would move and take the third slot, but it appears as though he'll stay put in the middle.
This gives Kyle Rose the third starting slot, which could end up working out perfectly, as hybrid size (6'4", 283 pounds) will allow him to act as an edge rusher and also an anchor in the middle, depending on the defensive look WVU decides to bring from play-to-play in this multiple, 3-4 look.
The linebacker position raised the most questions in my mind out of any position on this initial depth chart, and it could see the biggest changes from now until the start of the season.
My first thought was, "Where is Shaq Petteway?" His absence was alarming at first, but as defensive coordinator Keith Patterson told Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette, Petteway is going through a switch from outside to inside linebacker.
Additionally, Coyle reported from the release of this depth chart that position change will be one of the biggest driving forces behind changes in this list:
Holgorsen did caution that each position is subject to change daily and not to take anything you just read very seriously. Some individual players are switching positions each day as well, so there are a number of factors to consider that could lead to a decidedly different look in just over a week when the Mountaineers take the field for the annual Gold-Blue Game.
Having said all of that, I wouldn't be surprised to see a number of changes along this linebacking corps, which could include the addition of Petteway and a few newcomers, in particular incoming freshman Al-Rasheed Benton.
This linebacker corps looks to be one of the deepest positions on the field for WVU, as freshman and JUCO additions will bolster the already talented ranks this summer.
Very little surprise at defensive back as well.
Karl Joseph and Darwin Cook will likely have the safety positions locked down without much issue.
Meanwhile, on the outside, Brodrick Jenkins and Nana Kyeremeh are the two most experienced corners at this stage. However, if last year showed anything, it's that anything can happen at the corner position for WVU.
Holgorsen provided us with a number of injury updates this week, including the latest on Adam Pankey. He reported that the redshirt freshman offensive lineman's knee surgery went well and that he'll be out of commission at least until October.
Dante Campbell and Terrell Chestnut will both be out until July. Campbell (at receiver) and Chestnut (at corner) will both likely challenge for starting postions upon their return.
Additionally, linebacker Jewone Snow will be out until May, and he too could figure in the mix defensively when he returns.
Holgorsen told the media this week that Isaiah Bruce, one of West Virginia's best defenders from 2012, isn't having a great spring (Via WVUSports.com):
He is not having his best spring right now. He is clearly a starter, but Doug Rigg is pushing him pretty hot and heavy right now. Guys need to come in here and not be comfortable about having a starting spot. If you do that, you are going to be beat out by somebody. I am not saying Isaiah is doing that. He is a very determined kid, but he needs to keep progressing.
My instinct tells me that this is Holgorsen's way of lighting a fire underneath his star sophomore linebacker.
From the sounds of it, this is all about progress, something Holgorsen and his staff apparently haven't seen enough of out of Bruce.
The scary thing is, as a leader of this defense, Bruce's play could be the difference between WVU having a good and a bad defensive unit in 2013, which is why progress is so important—especially in his case.