A day after WVU's leading rusher, Dustin Garrison, sprained his ACL and MCL in practice and was ruled out for the upcoming Orange Bowl, his head coach released a statement on the injury.
"It's an unfortunate situation for Dustin, but it is one that we will have to deal with as a team," says Dana Holgorsen. "It is not something that we are unfamiliar with as we have had to deal with adversity all season long. This marks our third key player out for the bowl game with a knee injury (Brad Starks, Terence Garvin), but I expect our team to maintain its focus as we prepare for Clemson."
Holgorsen, preparing for his first bowl game as a head coach, has used the message of adversity throughout the season for West Virginia. Overcoming it is how he says the Mountaineers reached this BCS bowl and now it's what will determine the outcome.
Starks was injured earlier in the season and ruled out for the game and Garvin joined him as a non-participant after having surgery to repair torn cartilage following WVU's regular season finale against South Florida.
On Saturday, members of the Mountaineers' defense were available at a press conference (video of which can be seen here), and many said that because the offense and defense practice on separate fields, they were unaware of Garrison's injury until they heard about it through the media.
Defensive end Julian Miller says he spoke with the freshman rusher to try and gauge his spirits following an injury that will keep him sidelined for approximately six months.
"I just told him, 'Keep your head up. You've got a bright future ahead of you. We're going to go out here, we're going to play hard for you, man, definitely just be out there rooting for us. You've got definitely a lot more ahead of you, so don't get down on this,'" says Miller.
In Garrison's absence, Shawne Alston and Andrew Buie are expected to get the majority of running back reps against Clemson on Wednesday.