4/12 Football Report

Out of the spotlight, the football team worked out in shells on the artificial turf of Mountaineer Field on Friday afternoon.

The coaching staff was committed to keeping up the pace and intensity throughout practice, which lagged at times. Head coach Rich Rodriguez noted that "some parts of practice were good, but some were not so good".

It can be difficult at times when full contact is not allowed to keep the intensity at full bore, but the staff worked throughout the session to keep players going at full speed.

In skeleton drills, the offense worked on a variety of pass plays, from screen passes to deep patterns. Avon Cobourne and Quincy Wilson both had several good catches coming out of the backfield, while walkon wide receiver Marlon Burnette made a diving grab of a Rasheed Marshall toss despite an injured and taped thumb.

During these drills, managers armed with pads provided distractions to the receivers by waving blocking pads and whacking the receivers after the catch.

The offense also worked on third down and long situations. During these drills, Miquelle Henderson broke free for two long touchdown catches, and Tony Clackler had a long score.

Defensively, several strip and fumble recovery drills were conducted, with the coaches concentrating on making the fumble recovery first before trying to advance the ball. Defensive co-coordinator Todd Graham noted repeatedly that the important factor was to get the ball -- additional yardage after making the recovery was a bonus. Players were also drilled in protecting the ball after making a recovery by covering it up with both hands.

The punt coverage team again got a good deal of work, with Herb Hand taking several minutes to work on positioning and footwork with the inside blockers. James Davis and Quincy Wilson were the starting bullets, and were joined by Miquelle Henderson, Kaili Gamble, Anthony Mims and Jermaaine Thaxton. The defense managed to deflect one punt during the session.

Practice was closed with several two minute drills. The offense managed to score once on a field goal, but the defense stood tall by forcing one fumble recovery and holding fast on four fourth down conversions.

Arthur Harrison stood out with one nice pass deflection and several plays in coverage.

Centers and wide receivers stayed late for some extra work on snaps and pass catching. Although snaps were not a major problem, the quarterbacks had to move to catch a few of them, while drops plagued a couple of the wide receivers.

Defensive back Lance Frazier injured a toe near the end of practice, but other than that no serious problems emerged. A.J. Nastasi got some limited duty at wide receiver and at holder, while Justin Williams, Josh Stewart, Ryan Thomas, Angel Estrada and Mike Page were among those wearing red jerseys. Estrada is likely done for the spring with his ankle sprain.

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