Officiated Scrimmage Caps Camp

The offense and defense each had their moments during Saturday's officiated scrimmage that closed fall football camp, but head coach Rich Rodriguez still sees a great deal of work to be done.

Chris Henry, Rayshawn Bolden, and Josh Bailey all recorded receiving touchdowns and Pernell Williams added a short scoring run for the offense on a cloudy, cool afternoon inside Milan Puskar Stadium at Mountaineer Field. That performance, while still not outstanding, was a marked improvement over Wednesday's showing, when the attack corps was dominated by the defensive unit.

The blue-clad defenders still had some good performances of their own, recording safeties on two straight possessions and forcing fumbles by Adam Jones on a kickoff return and Kay Jay Harris on a sweep. The first team defense stuffed the offense on several consecutive possessions beginning at the offense's 30-yard line early in the scrimmage, and battered the second team offensive line on numerous occasions.

The second team defensive line held its own against the first team offensive troops, and gave weight to the conclusion that the defensive line might be the deepest position on the team, including the quarterback spot. No fewer than ten players on that unit were singled out by head coach Rich Rodriguez during his post-camp "State of the Program" address, as he noted that defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich was "loaded" for the coming season.

With the number one offense going against the number two defense (and vice versa) for the first few series, some fireworks were to be expected. Henry provided them first for the offense when he took a short screen pass, cut upfield, and outraced the entire secondary to the end zone. Brandon Myles added to the excitement provided by the wide receiving corps with a diving catch on a deep seam route, and Bolden gave onlookers another thrill when he caught a deep pass, avoided defenders Thandi Smith and Vince Beamer (who ran into each other) and completed a 99-yard catch and run for a score.

Bolden's play came as the Mountaineers worked on their "coming-out" series of plays, where the offense begins a series close to its own end zone. The defense also struck during that portion of practice, as linebacker Scott Gyorko tackled Marshall for a safety. On the next series, the defense scored again when the offense was flagged for holding in the end zone.

WVU also worked sets of plays beginning from midfield and from the defense's 19-yard line. On the red zone series, Brad Cooper hit a field goal, in addition to the scores by Williams and Bailey.

Following the scrimmage, Rodriguez termed the camp "average" mostly due to the missed practice time by a number of key players and the lack of heat.

"I saw some good thinkgs on both sides, but we still need to practice, and practice well, in order to get ready to play. I don't feel comfortable that we are ready to play at this point."

RIFLE REPORTS Penalties, especially holds and illegal blocks, plauged the offense during the afternoon. The defense drew only a lone pass interference call during the scrimmage.

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Rodriguez noted that "if we had a game today, Charles Hales would start at wide receiver". Eddie Jackson and Miquelle Henderson again sat out, but it is hoped that Jackson will be available for practice on Monday. Had a real game been played today, Jackson would have played at lease a few snaps.

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Henderson told reporters that he was getting "mental reps" while he stood on the sidelines during practice. Told of the comment, Rodriguez joked, "Yeah, those mental reps are tough. Kind of like mental pushups and mental sprints."

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Antonio Lewis has a pass breakup in the end zone that prevented a touchdown. Lewis and Larry Williams are the second team duo at cornerback. Another standout defensive play included a pass breakup by Ernest Hunter and whistled sacks by Craig Wilson and Jason Hardee.

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Kickoff returns were handled by Jones, Myles, Vaughn Rivers and Lewis. Myles broke a long return down the sideline against the first team kickoff unit.

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Several scouts, including one from the Houston Texans, watched the scrimmage. The Texans scout paid particular attention to senior offensive linemen Jeff Berk, Time Brown and Mike Watson. A scout from the Indianapolis Colts also visited recently.

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Among the almuni watching the scimmage was Grant Wiley, who is fresh off surgery to repair his injured shoulder.

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