West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen addressed the media today for the first time since the beginning of fall camp and offered some good news on the injury front.
“Qualls and Ferns are out, but those guys are going to come back with about another four weeks to play,” Holgorsen said. “Well guess what? We’re going to go ahead and play ’em. Ferns won’t need a red shirt, but a guy like Qualls is a fourth-year senior can play the last four games and then use him again next year.”
With linebackers Quondarius Qualls and Brendan Ferns both set to miss the majority of the season, West Virginia can utilize the new redshirt rule if they so choose. The NCAA recently approved a new rule that now allows players to play as many as four games and still claim redshirt status for that season.
For Qualls, a JuCo player who transferred from Northwest Mississippi Community College after the 2016 season, the rule will allow him the opportunity to return to Morgantown in 2019. Again, it all depends on when they return and if they play more than the allotted number of games. Holgorsen would certainly love to extend both players’ careers at West Virginia, but if the duo can help the team win in the short term, he’s going to play them as soon as they are medically cleared.
The Mountaineers are entering 2018 with a lot of question marks on the defensive side, so adding these two guys late will be a huge addition to the team’s depth. The back four games of the schedule will be a major gauntlet (@Texas, TCU, @Oklahoma St, Oklahoma), so if West Virginia hopes to secure a spot in Arlington for the Big 12 Championship game, it’ll need as many healthy bodies as possible. Gaining Qualls and Ferns back for the stretch run could be a huge break for the Mountaineers.