West Virginia opened spring football practice on Monday, and although the players were just in shorts, there was still plenty to be seen.
Mike Dent is again working in at center with Dan Mozes. Most interior lineman flipped to center to see who else has an aptitude for the positon, as offensive line coach Rick Trickett alwyas likes to develop depth by having players who are capable of playing more than one position. Graduated lineman Garin Justice was an interested observer during practice.
Charles Pugh and Eric Wicks had interceptions in skeleton drills. Wicks returned his for a 35-yard touchdown, while Pugh carried the ball too far from his body, getting the wrath of Rodriguez and Tony Gibson.
Jason Colson, Owen Schmitt, Sam Morrone and Slaton were the backs. Schmitt's feet were amazingly quick for a guy of his size, even faster than Slaton's. Good lateral movement, quick up and down. He simply looks very impressive.
Adam Bednarik, White, T. J. Mitchell, Jarrett Brown and Nate Sowers all took roughly equal snaps. Bednarik's shoulder is obviously bothering him, and affected the velocity of his throws. White is still much faster than anybody else, and significantly more slick. Brown is huge, but just can't roll as fast or get upfield like White. He does have a strong arm, however.
Johnny Holmes got a good bit of work at spur, where he will likely play this year if his pass coverage is up to par. That move would give WVU the flexibility to play Wicks at bandit at times.
Barry Wright looks like a man, even compared to some of the players WVU already has. He was solid in mental drills that focused on taking out lineman and getting depth and into the right holes. His wingspan seems impressive, and he plays with his head up.
Tim Lindsey was the long snapper and Travis McClintic the holder during special teams work. Patrick McAfee looked solid, and WVU also did drills on returns and coverage.
On punt coverage, players were again split widely, but evenly, apart. Their width was measured by a rake-like instrument by student managers. They worked on getting a hit on the inside chest, then releasing to get into coverage as quickly as possible coverage. Hathaway, Larry Williams, Brandon Barrett, Jones and Pernell Williams worked on coverage. Antonio Lewis was the main returner.
With no hitting allowed, the offensive and defensive lines separated themselves for the majority of the practice. They worked against each other, the seconds serving as the opposite side of the ball for the most part. Technique work dominated the sessions.
The weather was cold, about 35 degrees with a decent breeze and overcast skies. Greg Hunter wore long sleeves, but Casteel outdid him in shorts and a spring jacket. Most players were in shorts, but some skill players went with tights.
Practice continues on Wednesday with another session in shorts and helmets.