Spring Drills Open

The opening of spring football practice can seem a bit strange - there's all kinds of anticipation, but the first couple of practice sessions have next to no hitting and very little contact, which is in direct opposition to the intense collisions that football normally brings.

Despite the toned down physical side of these first few practices, there's still a lot of work getting done. The coaches start at the beginning, reviewing fundamentals from the ground up. Those are blended (quickly in the coaches' hopes) into more advanced skills that then combine to form the crsiply executing offensive and defensive units that fans want to see in the fall.

That process began today as well over 100 players took to the AstroPlay surface at Mountaineer Field for the opening of spring football practice.

The day's full drills were limited to periods at the beginning and end of practice, where full 11 on 11 work took place. The first, second and third teams each squared off for several possessions, working their way up and down the field.

On the offensive side, Tim Brown and Ben Timmons began the day at left and right tackle respectively, Jeff Berk and Geoff Lewis were the guards, and Justin Williams the center.

The backfield saw Rasheed Marshall at quarterback, Moe Fofana at fullback and Quincy Wilson at superback, with Hikee Johnson getting a good bit of work when WVU went to their two back split backfield sets. Miquelle Henderosn and Aaron Neal were the outside receivers, while Travis Garvin and Dee Alston received first looks in the slots.

On defense, Ben Lynch and Fred Blueford were the tackles, with Ernest Hunter in the middle. Grant Wiley, Adam Lehnortt and Leandre Washington were the backers, with Mike Lorello and and Jahmile Addae at spur and bandit. Adam Jones and Lance Frazier were the corners, with Brian King at the free safety.

Of course, compiling a depth chart or trying to identify a first team on the first day of spring drills is pretty much an exercise in futility. Some changes and experiments are sure to come, and a number of youngsters will get a long look as the spring progresses.

A bit of that was evident even on Day One, as backup quarterback Charles Hales got some reps with the first team, with Rasheed Marshall working a couple of series with the second unit. With the youth of this Mountaineer team, expect to see more of that as the coaching staff works to develop enough depth to get through WVU's grueling 12 game schedule.

Defensive lineman Pat Liebig drew some notice for his excellent condition and quick moves, and although he's just a gray shirted freshman he may well be needed to provide some depth along the thin front line. Adam Jones also had a couple of nice pass breakups during drills.

Practice continues on Saturday with Day Two of the fifteen allotted spring practices.

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