Weather Dominates Day Four Storylines

Depsite the best laid plans of the coaching staff, Thursday's practice was curtailed by a series of thunderstorms.

The coaching staff moved practice up to 2:30 p.m. to try to get ahead of the waether and also avoid dome late afternoon classes, but mother nature had other ideas.

At about 3:00 p.m., it rained hard, resulting in a wet and slippery field for the remainder of practice. About ten minutes before 5:00, a big flash of lightning appeared, resulting in a general clearing of the field. Practice was resumed about 5:15, but that was short lived. Another bright bolt of lightning struck down and a thunderous clap of thunder boomed and everyone decided to call it a day at 5:25.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez said the indoor building was really not an option for continuing because it was not long enough, it would take too long to change shoes, and it still has the old turf. He commented that he would really like to see the new turf put in Caperton Center.

"If regular two-a-days were held that the lightning would not have been such a big deal," Rodriguez said afterward.

Despite the shortened session, there were still a number of news items.

First, offensive tackle Mike Watson quit the team and is on his way back to California. Watson was unhappy after Monday's practice session, and apparently things didn't get any better over the next couple of days. That loss further hampers the already depleted WVU line, which loss Justin Williams before the start of practice.

Today's special team area of focus was on the punt team and punt block squads. Cornerback Lance Frazier was the number one returner with Adam Jones returning punts with the second team.

Individual drills were again highlighted for about a half hour. The defensive backs and receivers squared off in more spirtied battles, with the DBs concentrating on reading the quarterback and the receivers concentrating on getting upfield and keeping the ball away from the defender.

Aaron Neal, Travis Garvin, Dee Alston, and John Pennington took the majority of the reps with the first team.

There were also sessions featuring inside run and one on one drills, which is sure to warn the hearts of those who love contact. The defense again appeared to have the upper hand, but both Jason Colson and Bryan Wright had solid runs during the session. During these drills, the coaching staff continued to emphasize ball security.

Frazier had a great practice, making a few nice breakups during both the one-on-ones and the skeleton drills, and capping his day with an interception return for a touchdown after the first lightning break.

The defense continued to install additional pieces of their scheme, as the linemen worked on different maneuvers against the offensive line.

Eleven on eleven work was curtailed by the weather, but both quarterback Rasheed Marshall and Pennington, among others, had solid days.

On the injury front, Jahmile Addae was again in a green jersey, and participated in some drills, but not full contact. Travis Garrett was likewise still held out. Miquelle Henderson was much more involved in practice today, taking more snaps with the second team. Also, Josh Bailey, who had a hip problem, had a shoulder problem. It was not thought to be severe.

The next step comes on Friday, with full gear tomorrow. Saturday is scheduled with two practices, and an additional session could be held on Sunday.

Quote of the day: "Lightning strikes little kids too." -- Bill Kirelawich when Rick Trickett's kids ran on the field during the break for lightning.


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