Camp Thoughts and Observations 8/13

Typically secretive, West Virginia's coaching staff lifted the veil for a few snaps early Monday evening, allowing reporters to get a glimpse of some actual football for the first time since the Gold-Blue spring game.

After the stretching and special teams periods that are a fixture of the 30 minutes of practice reporters are permitted to watch, the Mountaineers stunned most onlookers by holding a one-possession scrimmage of "good on good."

The offense began deep in its own territory and drove all the way for a touchdown, with Geno Smith finding Tavon Austin for an 11-yard score on a third down play. Smith had previously led the offense into position by finding Jordan Thompson for about 25 yards. Receiver J.D. Woods took a relatively short pass and found a seam to turn another play into a gain of about 30.

The defense did have its moments as well. Smith thought he had Stedman Bailey open on the first play of the drive, but Brodrick Jenkins caught up and made a nice play to break up a deep pass.

After the drive concluded, coach Dana Holgorsen walked towards the media members assembled along one sideline and said, to no one in particular, "You guys complain about not having access. Are you happy now?"

Here are a few videos from the "live" period:


  • There was a long list of players held out of action for various reasons. Head trainer Dave Kerns said safety Darwin Cook was in a red jersey due to a sore groin. Matt Moro was held out with a lower extremity issue, while cornerback Avery Williams and running back Torry Clayton each had what Kerns called "upper extremity problems." All are considered day-to-day.

    Safety Travis Bell was also in a red shirt, but Kerns indicated that it was not his decision and that Bell was not being held out for medical reasons.

    There was a bit of good news on the injury front, as linebacker Jewone Snow moved into a green jersey after staying in red for the first practices of the fall. Kerns said Snow is getting closer to being able to participate fully in drills.

  • Among the attendees at practice Monday evening was WVU athletic director Oliver Luck. Luck stood along one sideline watching drills with Mountaineer director of football operations Alex Hammond.

  • Watching linebackers coach/co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson and defensive line coach Erik Slaughter work with their respective groups, it is clear that there is still a very real emphasis on fundamentals.

    Slaughter's group spent several minutes working on proper "rip" technique when locked up arm-in-arm with an opponent. Players were rarely criticized for their form, but more were called out for a lack of aggressiveness in executing the moves. Slaughter, though, in his typical style, was effusive in his praise for several players who worked through the drill well.

    Patterson's experience as a teacher of the game is evident in seeing (and hearing) him work with the linebackers. Players worked through a full period of practicing techniques used to shed blockers and quickly identify and engage a ball-carrier. Proper tackling form, he emphasized, should see the defender move through the ball carrier's body and firmly grab the back of the jersey to completely lock up the opponent.

  • Just after we reported that blocked field goals had not been an issue during fall camp, Monday saw both Tyler Bitancurt and Corey Smith get kicks tipped or otherwise rejected during the live period near the beginning of practice.

    Pat Miller blocked a Bitancurt attempt from about 35 yards away, beating a blocker on an edge rush to slam the ball away. Smith's attempt was just tipped by Brodrick Jenkins, ensuring it fluttered short of the goalposts.

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