Football Practice Report - 4/2

With spring break over and the pads back on, the intensity was crackling at football practice on Tuesday.

The team dressed out in full gear for the afternoon practice session, and it was quickly evident that the coaching staff was intent on raising the level of execution and effort this week.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez noted on Tuesday that the coming practice sessions are critical as he attempts to identify a two deep roster coming out of spring practice. With the number of open slots on that chart, intensity and execution over the next two weeks will go a long way toward solidifying a spot for many of the players on the team.

The intensity boiled over a bit at one point as offensive lineman Tim Brown and defensive end Jason Davis engaged in a dust-up. Both were separated by offensive line coach Rick Trickett before any damage was done.

Tuesday's work also featured a number of one on one drills, in both pass protection and run blocking. Among the rookies along the offensive line, redshirt freshman Josh Stewart has made good progress since last season. He has been very good so far against some of the backups along the defensive line.

A number of skeleton drills of the seven on seven variety were held as the passing game was worked on against the full defensive secondary. Both Rasheed Marshall and Danny Embick are getting all the work they can handle, as they make up two thirds of the roster at quarterback.

Tuesday's session also featured the first serious work on inside runs of the spring. That's when the offensive line and backs square off against the front seven or eight of the defense and work on power blocking.

With WVU's struggles in the red zone last year, the coaching staff is looking to improve it's short yardage and red zone packages, so these drills figure to be a staple for much of the spring.

WVU will likely use a fullback and an I formation in some of these situations, as superback Avon cobourne is comfortable running the ball out of that set.

Another point of emphasis continues to be the blocking of the wide receivers, which has not been greeted with universal praise so far this spring. Execution in that area has been uneven so far this spring.

The last twenty mintues of practice were devoted to full 11 on 11 scrimmaging.

Big plays during that session included runs by A.J. Nastasi and John Pennington on reverses, and a long run by Rasheed Marshall on a designed play.

Practice continues tomorrow with another full contact session scheduled.

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