Final Week of Spring Practice Begins

The skies were overcast, but the rain held off as WVU began their fourth and final week of spring football practice at Mountaineer Field on Tuesday.

There was both good news and not-so-good news from the day's work, but no really bad news, which, at this point of the spring, might be good news in and of itself.

On the good side, both Kay Jay Harris and Bryan Wright returned to the field, and despite some problems hanging on to the ball, both were able to turn in a few solid runs. Harris missed a chance to turn a good gain into a score by making one too many cuts on one play, but for the most part it was good to simply have members of the injury brigade back on the field.

In the not-so-good category, Jason Colson's troubled spring continued as he hurt his ankle very early in the workout. Colson has sustained several practice-ending injuries during what has been a frustrating sophomore spring. After the injury, Colson did not return to the field.

Bryan Wright also hit a bump, as he twisted a knee during 11 on 11 work late in the day. No further word was available on his status as practice closed.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez was happier with his team's effort, but noted several times that he would have to watch the film before commenting on his team's execution. He was, of course, unhappy with the fumbles, and figures to again find fault with the offense, which did move the ball on occasion, but again had trouble putting it into the end zone.


Running backs weren't the only ones afflicted with a case of the drops. Both wide receivers and defensive backs had their hands on passes that should have been caught. The defense did, however, come up with several fumbles during the last few periods of the session.

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As they did last year, the defnese worked on some four man line sets. Ernest Hunter, Joe Sykes, Ben Lynch and Craig Wilson made up the front four during some of this work, while sam linebacker Boo McLee edged up to become a fourth lineman on other occasions.

WVU ran a similar set during the first two games last year, until injuries in the secondary forced them to revert to their base defense for much of the season.

Major work was also put in on the nickel defense in combination with the four man rush.

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Play of the day candidates were few and far between, as the gray skies provided a mirror of sorts for the play on the field. However, two did stand out. Wide receiver Miquelle Henderson threw a big block on a Rasheed Marshall rollout that allowed the senior quarterback to pick up a first down. Defensive backs Vaughn Rivers and Davanzo Tate were the recipients of the hit.

Also, during seven on seven drills, tight end Chris Malamet showed his concentration skills by catching a pass that sailed through Rayshwan Bolden's hands. Malamet's catch took everyone by surprise, including the defense, which allowed him to rumble in for a touchdown.

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Several position change experiments were tried on the day. Rodriguez noted that nothing should be read into them, but they do provide some points of interest as the coaching staff looks to work their best players on the field.

On the offensive line, Jeff Berk got some time at right tackle, with Jeremy Sheffey working in Berk's vacated guard position.

Defensively, Ben Lynch again worked with the first team at nose after playing much of the spring at defensive end.

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