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WVU football notebook: RB Garrison's role to increase

| Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, 4:28 p.m.
West Virginia's Dustin Garrison (29) runs in the open field against Syracuse during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Syracuse, N.Y., on Friday, Oct 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

Sophomore running back Dustin Garrison is expected to receive more carries when West Virginia hosts Baylor on Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Garrison's playing time also could increase if senior Shawne Alston continues to be limited by a thigh bruise he suffered against James Madison on Sept. 15.

Garrison, who sprained his left ACL and left MCL prior to last season's Orange Bowl, had two carries for 1 yard against Maryland in his 2012 debut.

“That's the main thing, just get more confidence in it,” said running backs coach Robert Gillespie, who indicated Garrison is 85 percent to 90 percent. “The more time between the surgery and the injury, he'll get stronger and better.”

Gillespie said the plan was for Garrison to play 10 to 15 snaps against Maryland.

“Hopefully we can build on that,” Gillespie said.

Alston also likely will see more action than he did against Maryland. He didn't carry the ball in the Mountaineers' 31-21 win.

“Whenever he feels ready to play, we'll get him back in there,” Gillespie said.

Sophomore Andrew Buie started against Maryland and gained 33 yards on 14 carries.

Finally, conference play

Junior receiver Stedman Bailey said the Mountaineers have waited a long time to prove themselves against Big 12 teams. Baylor will be the first of nine straight conference opponents.

“I'm quite sure I speak for my team when I say we're very excited,” Bailey said. “We know that we'll be facing a lot of challenges going into the Big 12. It's considered one of the better conferences in college football.”

WVU will prepare for everything against Baylor's defense.

“Defenses change week to week. No conference has an overall identity,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “Baylor's got a long week to prepare. They're probably going to throw in a few wrinkles they wouldn't have if they had a short week.”

Bearish on Baylor ‘O'

WVU senior linebacker Doug Rigg watched Baylor's up-tempo offense move the ball with ease in a 47-42 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Friday.

“The first thing I thought: ‘They line up very fast,' ” Rigg said. “I didn't like that. But in a way we're used to that in practice going against our offense. It's going to be a good test to see how disciplined we are defensively to get lined up and be in the right spot.”

Odds and ends

One week after Bailey set a school record with 13 receptions, Tavon Austin matched the feat against Maryland. ... Geno Smith passed Marc Bulger to become WVU's career leader in pass attempts with 1,065. ... The Mountaineers are 78-3 since 2000 when scoring 30 or more points.

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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