Football Scrimmage Report - 4/6

It's pretty much a given that West Virginia's football team can't stand too many injuries this year.

That point was driven home today as no fewer than five players went down in a blizzard of injuries during the first scrimmage of spring football practice.

Fortunately for WVU, only one of the injuries appears to be extremely serious. That one belonged to center Zach Dillow who suffered an apparent broken leg or ankle during the scrimmage. He will likely be out until June.

As is often the case, the injuries struck hard at one position. Offensive lineman Justin Williams, who has seen action at center and guard this year, twisted a knee before the scrimmage even got underway, which left only Ben Timmons and Matt Ameri to man the center spot. Williams injury occured during field goal drills, which is not uncommon, as players bend, twist, push and pull in a mad scrum to protect or get to the kicker.

Others joining the injured list included bandit Angel Estrada (sprained ankle), wide receiver A.J. Nastasi (pulled groin), and tight end Ryan Thomas (twisted knee). There was no immediate prognosis on how long any of the players might be out, although indications were that none of them would cause extended absences.

All of the injuries except for Williams' happened during a brief span of only a few plays during the scrimmage.

In action on the field, the offense was able to mount two eighty yard scoring drives, both of which were capped by Avon Cobourne touchdown runs. Cobourne mad a nice run of approximately 20 yards for one score and added another of five yards.

The offense began the scrimmage in different situtations and in different positions on the field throughout the controlled scrimmage on a cool, windy day. Fullback Moe Fofana, superbacks Quincy Wilson and Adam Cantoni, and wide receiver Tony Clacker all added touchdowns on drives that began from different positions on the field.

Quarterback Rasheed Marshall and wide receiver Miquelle Henderson hooked up on several passes, including one to the goal line that set up Wilson's score. Henderson is quickly becoming Marshall's "go-to" receiver, and he returned the confidence with solid play on the day.

"I thought Rasheed and Danny were pretty sharp today," head coach Rich Rodriguez said after the haour and forty minute scrimmage. "They both made pretty good decisions. I think Rasheed made one bad decision all day."

The offense also showed a few plays from the I formation, which have been worked on during the previous week of practice.

Defensively nose guard Ernest Hunter continued to shine, albeit against backups for most of the day. If Hunter can continue to improve at the rate he has shown so far, he could provide true quality depth behind David Upchurch.

Rodriguez singled out backup free safety Lawrence Audena as a player who has grabbed notice in recent days. Audena had a couple of big hits during Wednesday's practice session, and continued Saturday with some solid hits. Audena is currently backing up Jahmile Addae at the position.

Jermaine Thaxton returned from his bruised shoulder to record two strips of Rasheed Marshall and Dee Alston. The plays showed off Thaxton's athletic ability - if he can master the schemes he could be a major contributor for the defense.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories