WVU is looking for more depth at linebacker
College Football Videos
When West Virginia linebacker Doug Rigg received a text message from a teammate about fellow linebacker Branko Busick, Rigg had one thought.
"No way," he said. "No way, this happened."
Players expressed shocked that Busick, a redshirt sophomore from Steubenville, Ohio, was arrested Monday night and charged with armed robbery after being accused of repeatedly striking a man with a gun. Coaches dismissed Busick from the team Tuesday.
Busick's former teammates said he was a great guy to hang around and could have been something special on the field.
"He was real cool with us in the locker room, and it was a real sad blow," Rigg said. "Plus, it does help destroy our depth because we don't have many people (at linebacker) with that experience. He was a guy going into his third year.
"Losing Branko is a big loss, but we're going to have to move on and see who can fill in his spot."
Even though Busick played in only two games last season, he provided depth at a position filled with inexperienced players. Linebacker remains one of the West Virginia's biggest question marks heading into the season.
Middle linebacker Najee Goode is the lone returning starter, but there's little proven depth behind him. With Busick gone, Goode is backed up by fifth-year senior Steve Paskorz, a Hampton graduate who transferred from Notre Dame and sat out last season, and redshirt freshman Jewone Snow.
There's even more questions about who will occupy the two outside linebacker spots. Rigg is the projected starter at strong-side linebacker. He played in all 13 games last season but in a limited capacity. Behind Rigg are redshirt sophomore Tyler Anderson and redshirt junior Donovan Miles. Neither has seen extended action.
Weak-side linebacker has the most uncertainty. Josh Francis, a speedy junior college transfer, and redshirt senior Casey Vance, who has played in 12 career games and made eight tackles, will compete for playing time.
"I'm a lot more agile, first-step quicker than Casey," Francis said, "but Casey's very smart, a very smart player. We kind of balance each other out."
Still, the uncertainty of whom will play next to Goode could bring the best out of the young players.
"That's something that's really going to get some people in gear, knowing they have a chance to play," Rigg said.
Note: Senior offensive guard Josh Jenkins, who injured his left knee during the spring game in April, had surgery last week and is out for the season, the university announced. Jenkins sprained his medial collateral ligament and medial patellar retinaculum in the Gold-Blue game. He had been rehabbing in hopes of avoiding surgery, but the university said doctors felt an operation was necessary. Jenkins, who started 11 games last season, will be in a leg brace for six weeks and won't be fully healed and strong enough to play football for six months. He is entitled to a medical hardship this season and could return for the 2012 season, the university said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Animal activists targeting Vick at Steelers preseason game
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Pittsburgh unemployment rate steady as job market shrinks
- Potential suspension of Pennsylvania AG’s license unusual
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison believes Goodell will prevail in Brady ruling
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- God is touchy topic in ICU, Pitt study finds
- Starkey: The kick returner and the grizzly bear
- Collective Soul to play Carnegie Music Hall in Munhall on Oct. 11
- Pitt defense is entering new season with something to prove
- Kentucky clerk invokes ‘God’s authority,’ still refuses gay marriage licenses