First Day In Pads

West Virginia's first day of spring practice in full pads produced some mixed results, which are about what you'd expect after three months out of gear.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez was not entirely pleased with the workout, which was understandably not as crisp as he would like. However, there were enough bright spots on the day to draw praise from various coaches.

Some jitters and nervousness were also apparent, especially from some of the young players vying for positions and playing time. That led to some shaky execution in the form of some dropped balls and missed assignments.

On the plus side, linemen Ernest Hunter and Mike Watson earned some praise for their strong early spring efforts. Quincy Wilson had a couple of strong runs, including one where he bowled over a defender, drawing oohs from the sidelines.

Wide receiver Rayshawn Bolden had a huge crackback block on a running drill, displaying some of the aggressiveness that the coaches are looking for from the wide receiver position.

Special teams also got attention during the full contact session, with punt protection and punt block teams facing off. Punter Eric Daugherty had a pair of nice punts, and placekicker Brad Cooper also earned some praise for his kicking.

The defensive staff began to work on some of their revamped pass rushing schemes, looking at different ways of getting more defenders into pass pressure. They squared off against the offensive line for several periods of strong hitting, as Rick Trickett's charges worked on their pass protection skills.

Practice concluded with a three on three drill similar to an "Oklahoma" or a "county fair" drill. In this version, three offensive linemen attempted to block three defensive linemen in a goal line situation and spring a ball carrier for a score, while the defensive line attempted to get off blocks and stop the ball carrier.

"That's sort of a fun thing for the players," head coach Rich Rodriguez said of the practice ending session. ""we're letting them have some fun and get after it a little bit."

There were no obvious injuries on the first day, although wide receiver Aaron Neal was wearing a red shirt and did not participate in any contact.

Practice continues tomorrow with another session scheduled for full pads.

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