With coordinators Jake Spavital and Tony Gibson both discussing how the Mountaineers are, steadily but surely, inching toward improvement each week, the coaching staff and players have slowed the process and covered the basics of installation. That has meant a greater focus on the breadth of all three sides of the ball, and not so much depth as fundamentals come to the forefront with rebuilds along both lines and at cornerback, among other areas.
Of concern, too, is that the Mountaineers lost productivity at receiver and long snapper, and are working through a series of injuries that have sidelined a series of players, including some who are still recovering from offseason surgeries. Of note, head coach Dana Holgorsen said he would no longer discuss any injuries after a report by one media outlet said that defensive lineman Jalen Harvey might have sustained a serious injury. The linemen himself retweeted a twitter post that hinted that Harvey's injury could be only a sprain of some sort and not a tear, though that is pure speculation.
What isn't is that offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste returned to partial drills for the first time this spring. While still limited in attempting to recover from a second torn ACL in as many seasons, Cajuste has started to work into some drills. That has helped the load, as Josh Sills did not participate in the team sessions on Tuesday, instead simply walking around the field with a wrapped right ankle. Dravon Askew-Henry also ran the sideline, while others with longer term injuries remained out. Holgorsen is correct in that injury speculation, and the day-to-day minutiae of answering questions on such can wear on staff and players, but the lack of availability has fueled curiosity as much as any other aspect.
On the field, West Virginia went through its initial stretch before running through ball security reps in the passing game. Every position unit worked on receiving the ball and securing it, some from point blank range on high velocity throws. The placekickers, meanwhile, went through a series of struggles, with Mike Molina and Jonn Young misfiring from both mid- and long-range. The execution has been better in other sessions, but this was a rough outing, even in the kickoff game for Young.
That's going to happen from time to time, though coaches have emphasized that Young's consistency has been the biggest issue, and that showed himself on a kickoff that was shanked into the sideline. WVU also managed a series of solid kicks, with Jovon Durante, David Sills and Tevin Bush working in, among others. While the special teams worked for approximately 10 minutes, WVU's quarterbacks and linemen went through a series of individual drills. The QBs again threw to the netting, while the lines worked hand placement, footwork, pad level and more.
West Virginia then pieced the units together and matched the first and second team offenses and defenses against one another at the end of the first half hour, as seen in the clip above. This was first team work, with the positions and players listed below. As always, they are subject to change.
First Team Offense
LT: Colton McKivitz, LG: Kyle Bosch, C: Matt Jones, RG: Grant Lingafelter, RT: Rob Dowdy, QB: Will Greer, RB: Justin Crawford, WR: Jovon Durante, WR: David Sills, WR: Ricky Rogers, WR: Gary Jennings.
First Team Defense
DE: Jon Lewis, NT: Xavier Pegues, DE: Reese Donahue, CB: Elijah Battle, CB: Hakeem Bailey, Bandit: Toyous Avery, LB: David Long, LB: Al-Rasheed Benton, LB: Hodari Christian, Spur: Kyzir White & Marvin Gross, FS: Jovanni Stewart.