Spring Drills Open

West Virginia's football team opened spring practice with a good deal of individual drills and instruction under partly cloudy skies at the Mountaineer football complex on Monday.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez noted over the weekend that each spring practice session would be critical in terms of teaching, and as the Mountaineer football team hit the field on Monday the import of that statement rang true.

The vast majority of Monday's practice was given over to individual drills as the staff began to install the new odd stack defensive front.

The coaches worked a great deal on individual positioning and alignment in the new defense, and paid special attention to pursuit angles and tackling.

In one drill, the Mountianeer defense faced off against only skill position offensive players, and worked on the correct pursuit angles to take to ballcarriers on different parts of the field. This drill was intended to cut down on the number of long runs given up by the defense last year, many of which were due to incorrect pursuit angles taken by defenders.

In another drill, defenders worked on tackling techniques, all the way down to the correct hand position for tackle attempts. Cries of "get cloth" could be heard from defensive co-coordinator Jeff Casteel as he urged his charges to wrap up and bring down ball carriers.

On the defensive side of the ball, the very early depth chart showed Jason Davis at left end, David Upchurch at nose tackle and Tim Love at right end. Adam Lehnortt was at Lou (left) linebacker, Grant Wiley was at Mike (middle), and James Davis was at Rob (right) backer.

The defensive secondary featured Lance Frazier at the boundary corner and Lew Daniels at the field with Brian King getting work at both positions. King will be limited throughout the spring with a soft cast on his wrist as a result of offseason surgery,

Angel Estrada and Jahmile Addae manned the free safety spot, with Arthur Harrison and James Woodruff at the Spur and Chris Flanagan, Jermaine Thaxton and Lawrence Audena at the Bandit.

Offensively, no full scale offense versus defense was done, but some five on five skeleton drills were run in addition to team offensive drills. WVU worked on throwing the ball downfield during those sessions, with mixed results. At quarterback, Rasheed Marshall and Danny Embick were 1-2, with Avon Cobourne and Quincy Wilson the same at superback.

The outside wide receivers getting the most work were Dee Alston and Miquelle Henderson, with A.J. Nastasi and John Pennington in the slots.

Along the offensive line, from left to right, the first team was Lance Nimmo, Jeff Berk, Zach Dillow, Ken Sandor and Tim Brown. Bakcing them up were Travis Garrett, Garin Justice, Justin Williams, Geoff Lewis and Ben Timmons.

The team will take a day off tomorrow and resume practice on Wednesday.

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