Spring Practice Notebook 4/10

It may be called "spring practice," but the weather in Morgantown made Tuesday evening's session feel like a game day late in the regular season. Cooler temperatures and gusting winds inside Milan Puskar Stadium changed the feeling of the Mountaineers' 10th session of the spring.

Perhaps due to a desire to warm himself up, head coach Dana Holgorsen was a bit more feisty than usual during the 30 minutes of practice reporters were permitted to see.

Donning a black sweatsuit, Holgorsen accessorized with a WVU logo cap -- turned backwards on his head -- and got to work himself.

He started the day by fielding punts alongside Tavon Austin and Brodrick Jenkins. The swirling winds made the kicks that much tougher to predict for all the return men, as both Corey Smith and Michael Molinari tried to combat the conditions.

Smith fared a bit better, with multiple impressive punts that hung high in the air for a considerable amount of time before coming back to earth around the 5-yard line.

But Holgorsen wasn't done just yet. As quarterbacks and receivers broke into groups to begin working on their timing by throwing pass patterns without defenders in place, the head coach grabbed the ball himself and (after throwing at least one into the back of quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital, just for laughs) chucked several deep bombs downfield.

With all due respect to Holgorsen, he would certainly be no better than fourth on West Virginia's depth chart at this point, as essentially all of his passes were underthrown at least slightly. Ivan McCartney had to stop his route completely to wait on one pass to come down.

When the Mountaineers weren't engaging in bit of fun and games, they largely focused on position-specific drills during the open portion of practice. There was no full-scale special teams period to begin the day as has typically been the case in recent sessions.

Instead, players got right to work with their position coaches. Highlighting the more competitive drills was a pass rush/pass protection session involving running backs and linebackers.

In work not pictured in the above video, Tyler Anderson showed why he was listed as a first teamer at defensive end in WVU's latest depth chart, as he badly beat running back Shawne Alston to get to the dummy that served to simulate a quarterback.

Alston got a measure of revenge later, as he did a nice job of keeping Jared Barber in front of him for an ample amount of time. But that was an exception during a drill that was otherwise dominated by co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson's linebacking group.

On the other side of the field, cornerbacks and receivers worked on defending and blocking for short screen passes in a competitive drill that has been a fixture throughout the spring.

NOTES:

  • Though the above reference may have been a dead giveaway, Ivan McCartney was again in full pads and appeared to be participating in all drills during the option portion of practice.

    McCartney has been hampered by a hamstring injury. Holgorsen said on Sunday that McCartney was still limited by the injury in the team's first scrimmage of the spring. He was supplanted as the first team "Z" receiver by Ryan Nehlen according to a depth chart released Tuesday.

  • Quarterback Geno Smith did not throw in certain drills in the middle of practice.

    Smith did not appear to be in any sort of pain and participated fully in earlier work, so it appears likely the move was made simple to minimize the amount of throws the senior-to-be would have to make during Tuesday's practice.

  • West Virginia players are scheduled to meet with reporters later Tuesday evening. Check back with BlueGoldNews.com for videos from those question-and-answer sessions.


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