Spring Practice Notebook 4/16

Perhaps players are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel a bit earlier than WVU's coaches would like, as some staffers had to ask for more energy from Mountaineer players on a few occasions at Tuesday's practice.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen once chided players for "trotting" through drills, and offensive line coach Ron Crook told his charges they were "going through the motions" at one point in the 30 minute period of practice open to media members.

Those players may be looking ahead to Saturday's spring game and the end of the spring practice period, but coaches did their best to keep West Virginia's players focused on the task at hand.

At least for the first 30 minutes of practice, the drills were almost identical to those of the last two practices reporters were able to see -- on Tuesday and Thursday of last week.

Defensive players worked through a rotation between three different stations, while offensive players worked in small groups. Offensive linemen were off to themselves (working in small groups, blocking certain run calls barked out by Crook) while quarterbacks took turns working with receivers and running backs on the barest of fundamentals.

Receivers ran routes, one at a time (against no defense) while quarterbacks took turns throwing to them. Later, quarterbacks and running backs worked on the proper footwork, angles and handoffs on different running plays (inside and outside zone, power, etc.) also against air.

Nothing was atypical and nothing was truly compelling enough to merit reporting. Again, though, before practice got to that point, special teams work was the order of the day.

Kicker Josh Lambert made all six of his field goal tries, including a pair of point-after kicks, a pair of 29-yard attempts, a 34-yarder and a 50-yarder.

Once that period ended, the team went to work on full-scale, live kickoff coverage and kickoff returns. The emphasis was seemingly on the return units quickly identifying and reacting to atypical kicks -- squibs and sky kicks, especially -- but there were more than a few mishaps along the way.

Special teams coordinator Joe DeForest wanted to see players in the second level of the return units field the ball, but instructions got crossed between DeForest and some of the other assistants helping with the drill, including JaJuan Seider and Lonnie Galloway.

Even after things had seemingly been clarified, K.J. Myers did not attempt to field a sky kick, which then bounced with no member of the return team nearby. Finally, a third try saw Daikiel Shorts take the ball as instructed, and DeForest seemed pleased with the performance of the rest of the return unit on that rep as well.

Notably, the men back deep to return kickoffs remained the same -- Vernon Davis, Wendell Smallwood, Brodrick Jenkins, Jordan Thompson and Avery Williams all took turns in pairs on the kickoff return reps.

RIFLE REPORTS:

  • The aforementioned Davis was again in a white jersey for Tuesday's practice and working with the wide receivers, making it seem more and more likely that his position switch from cornerback will stick.

  • Linebacker Isaiah Bruce was in a red jersey and not participating in practice. It was not immediately clear what, if anything, Bruce had injured. Linebacker Jewone Snow and the aforementioned Williams continued to wear the green jerseys donned by those who can only participate on a limited basis.

  • For the final time before the spring game, reporters are scheduled to meet with Mountaineer players on Tuesday night following practice. BlueGoldNews.com will have interview videos posted as soon as possible, plus written stories from those interviews in the days to come.


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