WVU Camp Notebook: Day 11

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With an intrasquad scrimmage looming Saturday, West Virginia pitted its first team offense and defense against one another this afternoon in the two-minute drill, and repeated the exercise with the second team.

The first team offensive line consisted of Yodny Cajuste at left tackle, Adam Pankey at left guard, Tyler Orlosky at center, Kyle Bosch at right guard and Marquis Lucas at right tackle.

Bosch, who returned to practice today after missing a few days with a minor concussion, was shuffled along the line between the first and second team throughout the drill. Earlier in the day, head coach Dana Holgorsen said Bosch was pushing for a starting spot, from the amount of work he got today it seems the coaching staff is trying to find where he fits best soon. The coaching staff also rotated several lineman, including redshirt sophomore Grant Lingafelter between first and second team, trying to find the right balance of chemistry along the offensive front.

Quarterback Skyler Howard and the first team offense struggled to move the ball against WVU’s first team defense. On Howard’s first possession, he was picked off by sophomore safety Dravon Askew-Henry on a pass he floated over the middle after the Mountaineers gained their only first down in any portion of the session, with either the first or second teams.

Backup signal caller William Crest, who Holgorsen said is now working exclusively with the quarterbacks, didn’t have much more success, but he did avoid turning the ball over. Holgorsen said Crest has made big strides in protecting the ball since spring, which has made him more comfortable with the idea of having him ready to go at the No. 2 quarterback spot. Crest showed the athleticism that makes him such an intriguing option, breaking out of the pocket and eluding two defenders on his way to a nine-yard scramble at one point.

Freshman Gary Jennings, redshirt sophomore Ka’raun White, junior Daikiel Shorts and senior K.J. Myers were the wide receivers on the field with the first team, while running back Wendell Smallwood was split out in the slot on occasion during the first team reps.

Smallwood joined Shell and Howard in the backfield with the first team, while William Crest was paired with Dontae-Thomas Williams at the running back spot. Still, that tanddem didn't produce much as the defense continually applied pressure and forced Howard and Crest out of the pocket and into throws on the run.

Crest’s receivers were freshman Jovon Durante, redshirt sophomore Jacky Marcellus, who also lined up at running back a few times, redshirt sophomore Shelton Gibson, and redshirt junior Devonte Mathis and Vernon Davis Jr.

The defense got the better of the offense across the board, forcing three four-and-outs and coming up with an interception. The two-minute drills are a training camp staple that has been on display plenty of times at WVU this fall, but one signature camp drill, Oklahomas, have not. Reports say there are no plans to utilize the Oklahoma drill during camp, but it could make its way into the sessions once school begins as West Virginia tries to keep players healthy through the grind of daily contact. The Mountaineers went through the one-on-one tackling drill during spring camp, but have yet to do so this fall and it appears as if they won’t.

Whether it is a trickle-down effect of the limited contact rules put in place by the NCAA recently, or just an effort by the coaching staff to limit the number of hits players are taking in practice it appears to be working. Other than Bosch’s concussion, the Mountaineers have yet to be bitten by the injury bug this camp, though multiple players have appeared in green (limited contact) jerseys.

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