Cooler Temps, Hotter Action

Although the temperatures were a bit cooler for Monday's afternoon session, the action definitely heated up on the grass practice fields as the Mountaineer football team continued to prepare for the upcoming season.

The session in full pads featured the first appearance of officials, who participated in both seven on seven and 11 on 11 practice periods, and depsite fears expressed by Rodriguez last week, there weren't an overly large number of penalties called.

Some hard hitting highlighted inside running, which has definitely stepped up in intensity from last week. Kay Jay Harris began to utilize his physical skills and made some strong runs, including one memorable foray where he burst through a hole and ran over defensive back Larry Williams.

In further testament to the rough action, Bryan Wright was shaken up after delivering a big block, and did not return. True freshmen Alphonso Gross and Pernell Williams split time on the second team after Wright's departure, with Jason Colson splitting time with Harris on the first team.

Gross also shone during special teams work as a kickoff return man, ripping off several nice returns. If he continues to perform at this level, Gross could be close to shedding a redshirt for the upcoming season.

The raised intensity levels weren't confined to the runners, as wide receivers and defensive backs squared off in one on ones, then renewed those battles through skeleton and team passing sessions. Nathan Forse and Antonio Lewis had a brief scuffle after one go around. Forse also drew some praise from Rodriguez, who noted Forse "has done a good job", this fall, and could be in the mix at wideout.

Brandon Myles continued to make a case for himself as well, as he recorded a pair of highlight-type receptions. One was a jump ball in end zone over Adam Jones, while the other featured a good adjustment on an underthrown pass from Pat White.

Other big plays in the passing game during the afternoon included a Dee Alston 35-yard TD catch, a Chris Henry 55-yard TD catch, and a long reception by Joe Hunter that was whistled to a halt.

A good deal of situational work was also completed, inclduing a repeat of Saturday's third down situations, and also some short yardage practice.

In addition to those sitting out the morning, Adam Lehnortt missed the afternoon practice with a sore knee, and Jeff Berk was absent from the offensive line. That opened the door for Zac Napier to get time with the first team at guard, while true freshman Ben Iannacchione ran with the second unit for several possessions as Jeremy Sheffey was in a red injury shirt. Mike Watson was back with the first team at tackle during the afternoon as well.

Practice continues on Tuesday with a single session.

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