One of the most talked about players of the off-season, and perhaps one of the most athletic players on the team, backup quarterback/wide receiver/running back William Crest got some work fielding punts today. He also went through some drills with the wide receiving corps, but did not take any reps at quarterback during the 30 minutes of media access. Holgorsen said he would get about 50 percent of the second string quarterback reps as camp goes forward.
Redshirt senior Marquis Lucas looked like a potential anchor for the offensive line at the right tackle position on day one, blowing his opponents off the ball in the one-on-one drills with regularity. Lucas, left guard Adam Pankey and center Tyler Orlosky will likely serve as the glue for the group this year, but offensive line coach Ron Crook will be looking for someone to step up after Holgorsen announced Russell Haughton-James was dismissed from the team before the start of camp. Redshirt freshman Yodny Cajuste is listed as the preseason starter at the left tackle position, and will have to put his best foot forward over the next two weeks to assure he’s as ready to go as possible when the Sept. 5 season-opener rolls around.
A stacked stable of running backs that looks to be the deepest position group on the offense heading into the season got some work in ball security in the early goings of the first open practice. Redshirt junior Rushel Shell and junior Wendell Smallwood went through the drill without any hiccups, and set the tone for the rest of the running backs vying for whatever carries are left over. Redshirt freshman Donte Thomas-Williams, who impressed in camp last season before taking his redshirt, looked like the year off had done him nothing but good. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 224 pounds, Thomas-Williams is built like a bulldozer but is light on his feet to boot, making him a good option in short yardage and goal line situations. He is athletic enough to be a threat in the passing game as well, and certainly has the frame to be a punishing blocker in pass protection.
Led by a new addition to WVU’s coaching staff in Bruce Tall, who is assisted by second-year coach Damon Cogdell,, the Mountaineer defensive line worked its way through pass rushing drills, highlighted by the swim and rip techniques. Redshirt senior nose tackle Kyle Rose looked like the experienced veteran that he is, and showed the ability to be a coach on the field of sorts, talking his teammates through the drill and keeping the intensity level up. Rose has the most starts by a long shot among the three starting defensive lineman with 20, but defensive end Noble Nwachukwu is far from the new kid on the block. Nwachukwu started all 13 games of the 2014 season, giving him plenty of experience heading into this season.