Notes and Observations From Spring Practice No.4

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia suited up for its fourth spring practice of the year on Tuesday afternoon

  • Energy levels were noticeably higher among both coaches and players in Tuesday's practice. That, of course, is because the Mountaineers now have the pads on and are allowed to practice at full contact. The most intense portion of practice that we were allowed to observe was when West Virginia players went through the "Mountaineer Drill", a drill that goes by many names but is executed the same on practice fields across the country. Seen below, the drill is relatively simple - a quarterback (in this case Will Grier) hands the ball off to a skill position player who has a blocker.  The blocker and a defender square off as the defender tries to get off the block and make the tackle.


     
  • One of the most enjoyable parts of watching the Mountaineer drill unfold is seeing the verbal sparring that goes on between the offensive players (wearing white) and defensive players (wearing blue) as well as the coaches. Tony Gibson was jawing back and forth with Tyron Carrier and Tony Dews throughout the drill. Holgorsen was also bouncing around with the players and embracing the intensity of his team.

  • I came away impressed with the passion that Tony Dews displays when coaching. Check out the video at the top of the article and see how engaged he is with his players when going over simple fundamentals. Dews can be heard telling someone to "punch the snot" out of someone when they come out of their stance.

  • The majority of the beginning session was dedicated to special teams work. There were no personnel surprises as Mike Molina kicked PATs and field goals, Billy Kinney punted, and the order of punt returners went as follows: Gary Jennings, Marcus Simms, Jovon Durante, David Sills and Tevin Bush. While I don't see Gary Jennings giving up any of his punt return duties it will be interesting to see who takes over Shelton Gibson's role on kickoff returns. The onus is on Jovon Durante to have a big off-season to alleviate the loss of Gibson on offense and in the return game.



  • The Mountaineers went to a team session as the media was leaving and I only caught one play but I was able to note some of the personnel. Will Grier was the starting quarterback, Matt Jones was the starting center, and Kennedy McKoy was the starting running back. On defense it looked like Jaleel Fields was the nose while Reese Donahue and Jon Lewis manned the end positions. Xavier Preston, Al Rasheed Benton and David Long started out at the three linebacker positions.

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