In special teams work, Corey Smith impressed with both the quality and consistency of his punts. Essentially every kick was both long and high, with plenty of hang time. Smith fared far better than Michael Molinari, who shanked one punt short and out of bounds, while another was a line drive.
In the drills reporters were permitted to see, newly-minted special teams coordinator Steve Dunlap worked mostly with coverage and protection units, while Joe DeForest spent his time with the kickers themselves. After one impressive kick from Smith, DeForest worked with the punter on some of the finer technique points of his drop.
Slaughter was not afraid to stop a drill entirely to work with an individual on details of technique. He taught the very basics to his players on Day One, working on hand placement and quick recognition if an opposing offensive lineman is dropping into pass protection or working to run block.
Slaughter also was in charge of the "Buck" linebackers on Sunday, leading them through fundamental pass rush drills. Hip angles, speed and taking a proper angle to the quarterback were all emphasized. The new position coach also reinforced the need for players to us their upfield arm to secure a tackle before using the other arm to take an aggressive swipe at the ball.
Drills ran slowly because Slaughter had to stop so frequently to drill fundamentals, but he stated his intention to run those drills at a higher tempo once basics are mastered.
The most common word out of the new co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach's mouth was "good."
Safeties worked on making their backpedal while staying low and chopping their feet to maintain an ability to change direction quickly. They also worked on man-to-man techniques, including when the proper time is to flip their hips and lock on an individual receiver -- and how to maintain a dominant position at that moment.
Dawson led quarterbacks and receivers through timing drills -- a fixture of Holgorsen's workouts last year and something that leads off essentially every Mountaineer practice.
"Early," Dawson said dismissively at one point to one of his players, dissatisfied with when they broke off their routes, emphasizing the importance of timing to the drill.