West Virginia Football 2011: Mountaineers to Play 7 Running Backs

Scott PauleyAnalyst IAugust 27, 2011

Andrew Buie--courtesy of msnsportsnet.com
Andrew Buie--courtesy of msnsportsnet.com

“I have never been anywhere that seven running backs are going to play," said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. "It’s our job to continue to narrow it down when we are going to play certain guys and how much we keep them in there."

In most cases in college football, the backfield positions are set during the first couple weeks of fall practices. 

This is not the case for the West Virginia Mountaineers.

With the departure of both Jock Sanders and Noel Devine, there is great competition for their replacements.

The Mountaineers’ season kicks off Sunday, Sept. 4, when in-state rival Marshall comes to Morgantown seeking revenge for WVU's come-from-behind win last season.

However, there is still not a definite depth chart for most positions, including those lining up behind Geno Smith.

Seven different players are giving the WVU coaching staff fits, and Holgorsen says he likes it.

Four tailbacks—Vernard Roberts, Andrew Buie, Dustin Garrison, and Trey Johnson—are vehemently competing for the top spot, while fullbacks Ryan Clarke, Matt Lindamood and Shawne Alston will more than likely all get carries in the opener.

In Holgorsen's pass-first offense, he'll need running backs who can carry the ball well and protect the quarterback. 

If you like true competition, keep an eye on the 2011 West Virginia Mountaineers and their backfield.

Although, no matter who gets the starting job in the backfield, plan for the ‘Eers to have good balance when it comes to ball carriers and blockers coming from the backfield.