Spring Practice Notebook 4/8

There was an Easter miracle in Morgantown on Sunday evening, as reporters got to see something that has turned into a rarity in the open portions of West Virginia's spring practices: an actual, 11-on-11 football play.

The Mountaineers started their first scrimmage of the spring at about 6:45 p.m. local time on Sunday, with Big 12 referees on hand to officiate.

The white-clad offense started at its own 2-yard line. Geno Smith dropped back to pass and fired a ball across the middle to Tavon Austin, about 10 yards downfield. There, Austin took over, doing the rest as he often does, dodging a pair of tackle attempts and heading down the sideline for a gain of about 50 yards.

It was the only snap reporters got to see, as they were quickly ushered out by WVU sports information officials. Geoff Coyle of WVillustrated.com was apparently not booted as quickly as others, as he reported on Twitter that the offense scored four plays later on a run by Shawne Alston.

In the light warmups that immediately preceded the scrimmage, West Virginia again worked on kickoffs and kickoff coverage.

On a pair of occasions, the kickoff team attempted to surprise the coverage unit with a short, dribbling onside kick. The tries failed on both occasions, as Corey Smith's first kick failed to travel the full 10 yards required. A second kick was easily recovered by the defense.


  • Wide receiver Ivan McCartney returned to action on Sunday. He suited up in full gear and was set to participate in the scrimmage.

    McCartney has been held out since the opening days of spring as he recovered from a hamstring injury, according to WVU head trainer Dave Kerns.

  • The officials for the scrimmage wore black shorts to go with their striped tops -- perhaps to their own chagrin given a sudden chill that moved through the area as practice began.

    The shorts were adorned with the Big 12's logo, yet another small sign of the Mountaineers' impending conference move. A back judge appeared to be in midseason form, backpedaling down the sideline and signaling for a touchdown as players warmed up before putting their pads on before the scrimmage.

  • Head coach Dana Holgorsen will meet with reporters later Sunday evening. BlueGoldNews.com will have video of Holgorsen's press conference available as soon as possible after the question-and-answer session ends.

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