Tennessee is taking on West Virginia in Charlotte, N.C. this Saturday, and there’s been a bit of back-and-forth already between the two teams over — wait for it — depth charts. Both head coaches, Jeremy Pruitt and Dana Holgorsen, released them early on in game week.
Note the ORs listed next to a good chunk of West Virginia’s names. There are a couple ORs on WVU’s defense depth chart, too. On a depth chart that’s released to the media, putting “or” next to names is basically a convenient way to keep who you’re starting a secret:
The reasoning for the abundance of ORs? Holgorsen said it was Tennessee, which released its depth chart on Monday, that started it:
Dana Holgorsen, on hiding true starters on the depth chart: "we 'OR'd them because Tennessee 'OR'd us first." Says team can only do it in the first week.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) August 27, 2018
It would appear that Tennessee did in fact OR WVU first:
As one would expect, Holgorsen’s comments got some Tennessee fans fired up on Twitter. Here’s just a sampling of what is out there:
I’m not calling for the Vols to win. I just think Holgorsen sounds whiny with all of the complaining he’s doing.— Seth Stokes (@SethStokesWORD) August 28, 2018
Obviously Holgorsen’s own momma didn’t like him very much. Otherwise she wouldn’t have named him Dana. ♀️— VOLatov Cocktail (@VolCocktail) August 28, 2018
Holgorsen sounds shook tbh. Dudes Butch Jonesing everything, complaining about dumb shit and already making excuses. Before long the angle of the sun will be unfair.— Matty Ice (@MattyIce981) August 28, 2018
@TylerIvens I’m warming up to the Tennessee/WVU match up because Holgorsen is complaining about things like our practice time and our depth chart.— Che Yanki (@CheYanki) August 28, 2018
After WVU’s depth chart was released, Holgerson was asked about the reaction from Vol fans on Twitter. He downplayed everything, for the most part:
“They could’ve put ‘or’ on every single one of them and it wouldn’t have changed my outlook on that depth chart.”— Caleb Noe (@wvltCaleb) August 28, 2018
“You might as well just assume there’s an ‘or’ everywhere.”
“It affects nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
“That bothers y’all way more than it bothers us.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen beefs about depth charts.
In 2016, Colorado made fun of Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, who is known for not revealing starters or depth charts often, by releasing a fake depth chart. Throughout the 2017 season, Harbaugh never even released a full team roster. Then, Michigan hilariously released one full of former players as a joke at the end of that season. And former Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione resigned in 2007 after it became public that he was leaking depth charts weekly to Aggie boosters who paid $1,200 a year for the information.
Saturday will mark the first-ever time these two schools, which lie 400 miles apart from each other, meet.
Although WVU is expected to be a legitimate contender inside the Big 12, whereas Tennessee isn’t in the SEC, oddsmakers think this one will be close — per OddsShark, WVU is just a seven-point favorite against the Vols.
We’ll keep you posted if anything more comes from #depthchartbeef.