The Ides Of March

Wes Lyons showed physical play and a desire for the ball, highlighting West Virginia's situation work in a brief practice session before Saturday's scrimmage session that marks the midway point of spring drills.

The 6-8 wideout blocked effectively and ran crisp routes. He also showcased his intelligence, coming back to a scrambling Jarrett Brown to make a sliding catch in the midst of two defenders. He capped the 22-period practice by ripping the ball from a defender on the goalline for a score during red zone work. Fullback Sam Morrone also added a score on the final play of the practice, held before hundreds of high school coaches, in attendance for West Virginia's camp.

The approximately 90-minute practice was a crisp, focused series of skeleton drills and full 11-on-11 work, but because players dressed in shells (shoulder pads and helmets, but no pant pads), they did not take contact to the ground. Making the session increasingly difficult was that temperatures in the 30s and snow forced the session into the Caperton Indoor Facility, which was rung by the coaches standing all along the sideli9nes. That gave players no room out of bounds, and thus head coach Rich Rodriguez and the rest of the coaching staff cut the practices a bit short and kept the contact – and thus the injury possibilities – to a minimum.

Special teams go no work in aside from some snaps and holds, while the lines worked mainly technique. The trench players did get a bit of contact work when the offensive and defensive lines went head-to-head for a bit, while the skill players worked passing out of skeleton sets. That comprised the vast majority of the practice, though the Mountaineers did finish with the first, second and third teams using the full length of the IPF for 11 vs. 11 work.

The defense seemed to get the better of the session, though Ed Collington ran well and Owen Schmitt made some nice catches down the seams at tight end. Pat White completed a long pass down the sideline. Rodriguez did note that nobody has separated themselves at the backup tailback slot despite all the extra chances with Steve Slaton out of full contact drills. The plays were kept very mundane and basic with the prep coaches there, and it seemed like the staff and players were essentially gearing for the Saturday scrimmage, using this practice as a tune-up. WVU was also beat up, with much of its two-deep battered and wearing green jerseys, indicating no contact, but that they can still drill in other work.

The team ended with down and distance situational snaps, then red zone action, before breaking earlier than expected. It will go full contact in Saturday's 12:30 p.m. scrimmage, which Rodriguez said will be a huge factor as WVU tries to determine its two-deep heading into both the final two weeks of spring practice and the off/summer season.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories