This year, West Virginia has already seen 22 different players step onto a collegiate field for the very first time. Yes, enough players to fill every position on both sides of the ball have taken part in a trial by fire this season.
Isaiah Bruce is one of 22 players who have seen their first ever collegiate action this year.
That kind of experience is not one that linebacker Doug Rigg says is easy to handle.
“Being a true freshman being thrown into the fire of the Big 12, it’s like what I felt like last year against LSU,” said Rigg. “It felt like everything was going extremely fast, which is what they’re experiencing on a week-in, week-out basis.”
The junior defender does see improvement from his younger teammates, despite the results on the scoreboard the past two weeks.
“They’re getting better every day,” said Rigg. “You can see it from camp to now that they’ve gotten much better, and they’re going to be great players in the future.”
That last word is most important, though.
“They’re taking it in and they’re going to be great players once they have a spring and another season under their belt,” continued Rigg.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen, talking more specifically about the freshman receivers, says he hopes to expedite the process by upping their reps in practice.
“When you make the decision to play them,” he said. “You probably have to play them more.”
“Before, we would have them with us half the time and with the scout team half the time. Since we made the decision to play them, they will be 100 percent with us.”
“Their reps (in practice) went up,” said Holgorsen. “Their playing time will be determined by how they do in practice.”