Defense Dominates

It should come as no surprise to anyone following Mountaineer football that with a young offense lacking experience at skill positions, and a defense mixed with young talent and seasoned veterans, that the latter would dominate the first scrimmage of the spring.

That is essentially what happened on Monday afternoon. A few of the said veterans stood out, and for the most part, the defense gave the offense fits all over the field on this day.

Mountaineer head coach Rich Rodriguez said it wasn't a bad scrimmage, but not a great scrimmage either.

"I thought it was an average scrimmage, but I'll have to watch the film to make sure," said Rodriguez. "I thought our defense did some good things. It wasn't as intense, particularly offensively, as we like to have in our scrimmages around here."

Big plays from Dee McCann and Jay Henry led the first team defense. McCann broke up a few passes, recovered a fumble in the shadow of the end zone, and was all over the field on a sunny spring afternoon. That last statement was never more evident than his hit near the end of the scrimmage on Brandon Myles. The senior receiver ran his route, put his hands out for the catch, and then took a downright nasty, but legal, shot from McCann as the ball fell harmlessly to the turf for an incomplete pass.

Henry made several plays from his middle linebacker spot, including stepping in front of a Dwayne Thompson pass to return it for a touchdown.

Also standing out for the defense was Chris Corwell, who returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown against the third-string offense.

Rodriguez singled out some players on the defensive line for their performances today.

"I thought Craig Wilson made some plays, and Johnny Dingle made some plays."

It wasn't all doom and gloom for the offense though. Running backs Erick Phillips, Jason Colson, and Pernell Williams all ran hard and picked up decent yardage. Phillips scored on a six yard touchdown run with the second string, and Colson caught a touchdown pass on a seam from Thompson. Owen Schmitt, who has become a story this spring with his bulldozer running style, also looked impressive out of the backfield.

In the receiving corps, Rayshawn Bolden is emerging as the go-to guy. The junior from just outside of Buffalo caught an eight yard touchdown from Thompson.

The Mountaineers will practice again Wednesday and Friday before having their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning.


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