Spring Practice Report 3/18

West Virginia ended its first week of spring practice and started its second week in ceremonious fashion, as the Mountaineers donned full pads and the unmistakable sounds of the percussive pop of contact filled Milan Puskar Stadium on Sunday evening.

After a stretching period and work on punt return/punt coverage (without contact), the physical tone for practice was set with the use of the "Oklahoma" or "W" drill.

The drill was slightly modified from past years, as only one level of blockers was used in each line. The three lines were each devoted to a different group of blocker/defender battles. Offensive and defensive linemen worked against each other in one line, while linebackers and running backs tangoed in another. The third pitted defensive backs against receivers.

As usual, the entire West Virginia team and all coaches gathered around to watch, yell and encourage players.

Among the highlights were a violent hit from linebacker Jared Barber, a solid job of blocking by running back Shawne Alston and a stalemate between receiver Dante Campbell and cornerback Avery Williams that led to a brief shoving match (and plenty of smack talk) between the two.

Here is some video from the drill:

Though technique was occasionally ugly and sometimes defensive players seemed more interested in creating contact than actually pursuing the ballcarrier, the tone was set more than adequately.

Players then broke up into their typical groups for positional drills before the team was to reconvene for large-scale work. Reporters were, as usual, asked to leave practice after the first half hour was complete, and thus, no "live" 11-on-11 work was seen.

Here is video of some of that work, as new co-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest worked with the safeties on their backpedal and making a quick, smooth change of direction:


  • Wide receiver Ivan McCartney was among those in a red jersey and pedaling a stationary bike as practice began.

    WVU head trainer Dave Kerns said McCartney is dealing with a hamstring injury and his status for participation in drills will be assessed on a day-to-day basis.

  • The punting competition that was anticipated this spring is becoming less and less of a competition each day. Corey Smith again impressed Sunday, booming several long kicks with ample hang-time, including one that backed return man Tavon Austin up about five yards and still had to be fair caught.

    Michael Molinari, as was the case for both punters last season, is still struggling with consistency.

  • A drill was described in this space last Tuesday in which quarterbacks dodged bean bags and moved around cones before throwing towards a small target about 15 yards away. Here is video of that drill:

  • Head coach Dana Holgorsen will meet with reporters for the first time in a week later Sunday evening. BlueGoldNews.com will have video from Holgorsen's press conference.

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