Scrimmage Tids and Bits

An overflowing notebook from Saturday's scrimmage.

Standout performers on the day leaned toward the defense, which dominated the action for much of the afternoon. Redshirt freshman Marc Magro had a solid performance, and also racked up the hit of the day when he knifed into the backfield and dropped Hikee Johnson in his tracks.

Cornerback Larry Williams also underlined his intention to compete for a starting spot with a couple of stellar plays. Williams stopped one drive with an acrobatic third-down pass break up of an Adam Bednarik pass, and halted another with an interception while covering Chris Henry on a fly pattern.

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The defensive lines, especially the second and third units, put a great deal of pressure on their opposite numbers, and broke into the backfield on several occasions, Jay Henry and Ernest Hunter both forced fumbles, and Kevin McLee caused several plays to break down due to the pressure he applied from his weak side linebacker position.

The offense wasn't totally without good performers, though. Wide receivers Nathan Forse and Brandon Myles caught the ball well and provided most of the sparks in the passing game. Among the few other standout offensive plays, Miquelle Henderson had a leaping catch just over the outstretched hands of Williams, Eddie Jackson took a screen pass for a fifteen-yard gain, and Hikee Johnson scored after catching a pass in the flat. Rasheed Marshall and Dwayne Thompson both made nice reads on blitzes and dumped the ball off to running backs for solid gains.

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Although the running game sputtered, superback Freddie Little did a nice job on blitz pickups against blitzing linebackers.

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Both the offense and defense continued to work on some new formations and wrinkles. The biggest change for the defense is the flip-flopping of linebackers, spurs and bandits to the strength of the formation. In previous incarnations of the 3-3 stack, the linebackers and spurs did not change sides in response to the offensive formations.

Due to both the lack of available running backs and Rich Rodriguez' intentions of widening the running game, the quarterbacks also carried the ball more. Running plays that were common in the offense during 2001 and 2002 are making their reappearance.

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The injury list was fairly constant, with a couple of additions. Kay Jay Harris and Bryan Wright remained in red jerseys, and were joined on the sidelines by Jason Colson after the first series, where he sustained a blow to the back. Walk-on wide receiver Stephon Ashcraft was also still in a red jersey with a hamstring injury, while Jahmile Addae was in green, as has been the case on most full contact days.

One other roster casualty is apparently Alex Lake, who reportedly has left the team. Lake was not at practice either Friday or Saturday. Magro, who has been drawing a great deal of praise for his play, was the first team mike linebacker, and was backed up by walk-on Justin Hensley.

A number of players were shuffled among different units to see them against different levels of competition. Rasheed Marshall even took a late series with a collection of third and fourth teamers.

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Prior to the day's practice, WVU's assistant coaches demonstrated practice routines and schemes for coaches' clinic attendees. The WVU coaches wore microphones so their comments could be heard by the 400+ coaches in attendance.

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