Next man up for West Virginia at multiple spots

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Next man up for West Virginia at multiple spots


West Virginia is set to take on No. 7 TCU this weekend which is challenging enough. But a number of injuries have caused some even further shuffling for the Mountaineers.

But for every change there is an opportunity for head coach Neal Brown believes there are several across the roster that could take advantage of those if called upon.

The program is certainly going to be without redshirt sophomore running back Tony Mathis who injured his arm and left the game in the first half against Texas Tech.

Mathis leads the team with 492 yards and 5 touchdowns meaning that more is going to thrown onto the plate of true freshman CJ Donaldson.

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that sophomore running back Justin Johnson also might not play after being injured against the Red Raiders. If he isn’t available that is going to open the door for redshirt freshman Jaylen Anderson to receive time behind Donaldson.

“Jaylen Anderson has got an opportunity. CJ Donaldson will start and we’ll try to get Justin ready. If he’s ready he’ll play but if he’s not then Jaylen Anderson has got to be ready to go,” Brown said. “It’s his opportunity to prove if he’s ready to play at this level.”

Another starter that has already ruled out has been starting left guard James Gmiter, who also missed the Texas Tech contest with a head injury. That is going to thrust both redshirt freshmen Jordan White and Tomas Rimac into time up front after the pair split those reps against the Red Raiders.

At this point it isn’t clear when Gmiter will return.

“We’ll see how he does moving forward,” Brown said.

It was up and down for the freshman duo, but overall, the pair are again going to be counted on to give the Mountaineers a lift up front at that guard position.

“With Tomas what a great opportunity for him and Jordan white. As coaches we can’t accept a step back you have to be able to play and the expectations don’t change,” Brown said.

On the positive side, starting left tackle Wyatt Milum is expected to return after also leaving the Texas Tech game. That will be a major boost to an offensive line that is already dealing with changes.

The offense isn’t the only side of the ball dealing with injuries however, as Brown has already ruled out linebacker Lance Dixon and cornerback Rashad Ajayi. But there could be good news in the fact that redshirt senior cornerback Charles Woods is expected to be able to play more plays this week and another redshirt senior cornerback in Wesley McCormick could return.

The final injury of note came to Lance Dixon who also won’t be suiting up against the Horned Frogs. But his absence is one where the coaching staff can be flexible due to the defensive scheme.

That moving and shaking is something that coordinator Jordan Lesley is becoming quite familiar with.

“Have to move the pieces around where you have to in order to make it work. That guy is one of two things he can be a cover guy or a box guy if need be. It gives you flexibility to move some pieces around and you just have to structurally do some things a little different,” he said.

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