WVU goes 11-on-11 in Thursday's practice

As the start of the regular season inches closer and closer with each day of camp, the West Virginia football team is continuing to get plenty of work in as it enters the second week of camp.

The Mountaineers got started like usual with stretching and breaking into special teams drills, in which WVU fielded kickoffs.

Mario Alford, Rushel Shell, Wendell Smallwood, Jordan Thompson, Dravon Henry and Daryl Worley were back to receive kicks from a machine. As Dana Holgorsen mentioned earlier in the day, they were monitoring the kickers' reps today.

Aside from some communication errors early in the drill, Alford and Henry looked particularly comfortable back there as WVU spent a lot of the time working on blocking and getting where they needed to be from a coverage standpoint.

  • After that was over, the Mountaineers went into an extended "tempo" session, where they lined up and went 11-on-11 for most of the final 10 minutes of practice. West Virginia practiced today in helmets and shoulder pads only, rather than in full pads.

    A few slight changes were made to the first 11 that the Mountaineers put out for the first drive of the team period. Trickett, who sported a red jersey Thursday as opposed to the usual gold that the quarterbacks wear, went out for the first drive. Rushel Shell was lined up in the backfield with Alford and Kevin White outside at receiver and two new faces to that first unit, Jordan Thompson and Cody Clay, at inside receiver.

    Defensively, Shaq Riddick took first-team reps on the defensive line with Kyle Rose and Christian Brown.

  • Wes Tonkery, who Tony Gibson said Wednesday is arguably having the best camp of any linebacker this fall, took first-team reps again at the WILL spot as Brandon Golson is still in a green limited-contact jersey. Al-Rasheed Benton earned a few snaps with that first unit, as did junior college transfer Edward Muldrow.

  • Pittsburgh transfer Cullen Christian took the first-team reps at the SPUR position, while Dayron Wilson took the second team reps. Wilson intercepted a Paul Millard pass that was poorly thrown when Millard took snaps with the second team.

    The first secondary WVU put out on the field was the same as it has been the entire camp and looks to mostly be getting close to set. Worley and Ishmael Banks are separating themselves at the cornerback spots with Karl Joseph the leader of the defense at bandit safety. Freshman Dravon Henry, once again, was with the first team at free safety.

  • Dustin Garrison took reps with the second team at running back, as the redshirt junior as impressed coaches with his willingness to do what it takes to find the field this season after struggling with injuries the last two years. Sophomore Wendell Smallwood caught a pass out of the backfield, using some of the versatility that has earned him praise since last spring.

  • Members of the media got to see a glimpse into the future of WVU football toward the end of the period as freshmen William Crest and Dontae Thomas-Williams teamed up in the backfield for a series.

    Thomas-Williams ran hard when he got the chance to, and looks much bigger than many would expect a freshman to be, and Crest completed a nice pass down the sideline to Garrett Hope.

  • As Holgorsen said earlier, there were a few more players in red and green jerseys Thursday as camp starts to take a bit of a toll on the players. In addition to Trickett, running back Andrew Buie and Stone Underwood were new players in red, while Jared Barber was not practicing once again as he continues to work his way back from a knee injury. K.J. Dillon exchanged his red jersey for the green limited-contact jersey, joining Golson and offensive lineman Adam Pankey. Pankey still participated in one series with the first-team offensive line.

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