Spring Practice Notebook 3/22

West Virginia's final practice before players leave Morgantown for the university's spring break was a spirited one, as players again embraced periods of play dominated by contact on Thursday afternoon.

Practice again got rolling with the "Oklahoma" drill, and coaches again seemed largely pleased with the work being done. The most common words out of the mouths of both running backs coach Robert Gillespie and defensive line coach Erik Slaughter were "good job."

In at least two of the three videos below from the drill, Slaughter can be heard praising his players after a rep ends.

A rep not pictured here that pitted defensive lineman Kyle Rose against offensive lineman Josh Jenkins saw Rose win handedly, drawing howls of approval from several players and coaches among the blue-clad defense.

Special teams work also helped begin drills, as what might best be called "situational punting" was drilled. Punters attempted to place kicks in an area to allow their coverage unit to down the ball deep in opposing territory, while return men attempted to gauge the right time to field the kick and the correct time to let it go.

It appears there still may be much work to be done in that particular facet of play, as punters combined to kick several touchbacks during the drill. Again, Corey Smith looked to be further along in his progression than Michael Molinari. Smith easily had the best punt of the period -- a high boot with ample hang time that was downed inside the 1-yard line.

NOTES:

  • All of the players previously named in our stories were still held out of action Thursday, including wide receiver Ivan McCartney (hamstring) and defensive linemen Shaq Rowell and Trevor Demko (head injuries).

    It briefly appeared as though two of the more prominent names on WVU's offense would join them. Running back Andrew Buie briefly complained of pain in his thigh and left his group, but quickly rejoined those at his position.

    As reporters left practice, quarterback Geno Smith was on the ground and being looked at by a trainer, but it appeared he just needed a bit of help stretching out, as he quickly popped back up and ran to join his teammates a bit downfield.

    Both Buie and Smith appeared to be fine.

  • Smith nearly put one of his prominent teammates and friends in a precarious spot just a bit earlier, as receivers and quarterbacks worked on one end of the field while safeties drilled with position coach Joe DeForest around the 50-yard line.

    Smith fired a deep pass for receiver Stedman Bailey that nearly took Bailey into the middle of the safeties' work. Bailey pulled up in time to avoid a collision, and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital laughed before lining up about 20 yards downfield and telling quarterbacks to position their throws as if he was a safety.

  • Mountaineer assistant coaches will meet with the media later Thursday evening to wrap up the first two weeks of spring practice. BlueGoldNews.com will have video from interviews with the coaches.


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