Notes and Observations From West Virginia's First Spring Practice

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia held its first spring practice of the year on Monday afternoon.

  • One of the first things that stuck out was the intensity of Joe Wickline. While Ron Crook coached with a calmer demeanor Wickline brings fiery approach to coaching the offensive line. After the first repetition of the day, Wickline noticed something off in Matt Jones' footwork and proceeded to take the ball from Jones, spike it to the ground and demonstrate the proper form. When doing so, he knocked a reserve linemen holding a tackling dummy backwards a few feet.

  • While on the subject of the offensive line, the first group from left to right was as follows: LT Josh Sills, LG Kyle Bosch, C Matt Jones, RG Grant Lingafelter, RT Colton McKivitz. Wickline made note that the group that started spring practice would be the one with the most experience and for the most part that was accurate (note that Yodny Cajuste was in a limited practice jersey).

  • Tony Dews looks like he'll be making a seamless transition to coaching running backs after working exclusively with receivers for the last several years. Dews looked comfortable working with the position group as he repped each back through a series of drills and put an emphasis on footwork for much of the day. No surprise here but the first three backs were Justin Crawford, Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway. It looked as if Dews was giving Tevin Bush some extra attention after each repetition as he is trying to bring the true freshman up to speed.

  • After getting my first look at Tevin Bush I came away impressed with his agility and quickness. Bush fits the mold of Jock Sanders and Noel Devine (he's 5'8 at best) but you can see that he makes up for lack of size with his moves.

  • Bruce Tall is tasked with replacing all three of his defensive linemen in 2017. The first group he was using was Reese Donahue, Jaleel Fields and Jon Lewis. While West Virginia's ends have plenty of game experience (Donahue, Lewis and Adam Shuler) the cupboard is bare at the nose guard spot. Fields, who is coming off of knee surgery, repped with the first group and juco product Jalen Harvey repped with the second group. It looks like Harvey and Fields will battle it out for the zero technique through at least spring ball and most likely August too.

  • As Dana Holgorsen noted, Mark Scott will have more of an input on the defensive side of the football in 2017. Scott, who worked exclusively with special teams a year ago, helped Tony Gibson drill a number of linebackers and secondary players (as seen in the video above). Scott was still seen working with special teams units too, however, but Holgorsen was closely observing every special teams drill in practice. Gibby has made note that Scott will be an instrumental voice in his ear on game day as he observes from the press box.

  • As far as injuries go Ka'Ruan White, Yodny Cajuste, Dravon Askew-Henry and Brendan Ferns were all wearing non-contact jerseys. The group moved around fine but there is no doubt the coaches want to bring back each one back slowly.

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