During one-on-one battles between offensive and defensive linemen, Bruce Irvin took exception to the tactics of his opponent, Nick Kindler. A brief shoving match resulted, but Irvin backed away as Kindler's offensive line mates came closer to the action.
Irvin settled with taking several verbal jabs at Kindler, and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich wisely opted to keep Irvin out of the one-on-one drill for the last few minutes before "team" periods began.
Tensions again peaked during that segment of practice, as a full-scale, benches-clearing brawl briefly broke out after one play. Though it was difficult to see what exactly got things started, one offensive player threw the ball at a defender's head after a play completed, and the fracas began.
Tensions defused quickly on their own, as coaches, like running backs mentor Robert Gillespie, didn't see the need to get involved. "I ain't getting in that," he chuckled to offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who was standing near the sidelines, watching the short-lived brawl play out.
The first play of full-scale "team" drills saw wide receiver Brad Starks get a bit of separation as he battled cornerback Brantwon Bowser in a one-on-one situation. But quarterback Geno Smith slightly underthrew Starks, allowing Bowser to catch up and make just enough of a play to force an incompletion.
Starks stayed on the turf for a good while after the play and was slow to get up, as he appeared to be favoring his right arm. Trainers tended to him on the sideline, but Holgorsen didn't seem to be so sure the receiver was hurt, rather vocally questioning why the oft-injured senior wasn't in the action on multiple occasions.
Starks did not take part in any more reps for the remainder of practice.
While it is difficult to handicap the ability of Hargrett and other running backs in those areas so early, Hargrett has consistently been the toughest runner on the Mountaineers' roster this spring.
He again burst through the middle of the defense, displaying good pad level and an ability to keep his balance through contact, on a run that would have gone for at least 30 yards on Wednesday.
That's not to say he has been able to get out of every tough situation. A few plays later, he took a handoff from Smith and was met almost immediately by both Julian Miller and Jorge Wright for a loss of three or four yards.
Unfortunately for Millard, that was about the only highlight he had on what was easily his roughest day of work in "team" drills.
He drew the angst of Holgorsen on several occasions for delivering a few balls where his receiver had no chance to catch them, held onto the ball in the pocket for too long on other plays, and rushed a couple of reads -- one of which came on a short pass across the middle that landed right in the chest of linebacker Josh Francis, who somehow failed to come up with what should have been an easy interception.
Later, Millard received a snap and almost immediately had both Doug Rigg and Irvin coming for him. Millard, perhaps in a bit of a panic, fell to the ground. His left shoe came off in the process, drawing laughs from Irvin and others on defense, who taunted the young quarterback about supposedly being scared.
Stedman Bailey found himself as open as any receiver could ever be on one play, with no blue shirt within 15 yards of him in any direction -- a tough thing to do, considering the ball was snapped on the defense's 30-yard line.
Smith found his former high school teammate and Bailey casually walked into the end zone for a score.
Williams, like Francis, should have had an interception, as a Smith pass intended for Willie Millhouse came right to him. But the young corner dropped the ball.
Later, Williams got burnt by Millhouse on a quick slant that went for a touchdown. But he learned from his mistake.
On the last play of "team" drills, Williams kept good inside position, forcing Ivan McCartney to fade toward the corner of the end zone. Smith lofted a floating pass towards the back pylon, but Williams again made a good play, waiting until just the right moment as the ball arrived to initiate contact with McCartney and ensure the ball would not be caught in bounds.
As the offensive and defensive players went to work with their position coaches during West Virginia's ball security/turnover circuit just after that play, Lockwood heaped some praise on the young cornerback.
"You can't get beat inside, young puppy," the cornerbacks coach said repeatedly to Williams. "The harder throw is that one (the fade). The easy throw is that slant. But I love your attitude. I love your attitude."
McCartney came to the sideline after making that play, and Holgorsen quickly said, "You're not done," to the young receiver. McCartney explained he had come off the field to tie his shoe, to which the offensive coordinator said, "Hurry up," before saying he was tired of seeing players make a play and then, apparently satisfied, take the next four or five snaps off.
But Bedenbaugh admitted he wanted to see what Spain looked like at an inside position as well, something he said he would evaluate in film study of Wednesday's practice.
He made one jaw-dropping throw Wednesday, fitting a ball through an impossibly tiny seam across the middle of the field to Tavon Austin, who caught it for a touchdown of about 20 yards.
There were no fewer than four defenders who appeared to be close enough to the trajectory of the pass to possibly make a play on the ball, but Smith delivered it with enough zip to fit through all of them and into Austin's waiting arms.