Back To Basics

West Virginia's first back-to-back practice yielded mixed results Tuesday, as the team continued to rebound from spring break while prepping for the final true practice session on Wednesday.

The coaching staff, still sorting through a myriad of players at multiple positions in order to establish a post-spring two-deep, put the squad through a series of one-on-one and two-on-two drills. The offensive and defensive lines worked speed drills, including one where the staff brought blitzers from various areas. Tailbacks picked up a linebacker bringing heat, while a linemen was responsible for blocking their counterpart on defense. The idea was to protect or rush a dummy set up as a quarterback in the backfield.

The secondary and the offensive skill players, meanwhile, put receivers and tailbacks against linebackers, safeties and corners in a cone drill where the two offensive players, the latter of which carried a ball, tried to get past the defender, who tried to make the tackle after fending off the block. The quarterbacks and some other tailbacks and wideouts worked on pass patterns. West Virginia then went to a full-scale skeleton drill when its offense ran through various play sets and pass patterns and a handful of runs out of three backfield looks. Tight ends also mixed in. The Mountaineers, because of new players along the line and a handful of newbies at tailback, have yet in install even the majority of the runs and pass sets.

The offensive line practiced stances and sets and fending off defensive lineman during a typical drill used everyday where the DL rushes the line and tries to sack the dummy. The defensive side ran through agility drills, working explosion of the ball. They ran around giant hula hoops and sprinted back o the start and shuffled through other footwork drills. Midway through the three-period drills, the skeleton sets started to test the secondary deep. It responded well, interception two passes and breaking up many others while holding in check the deep attack. Adam Bednarik took several snaps at receiver, where head coach Rich Rodriguez said he will continue to work in.

Full-scale work finished the practice. WVU did not tackle to the ground, but rather thudded up, holding a ball carriers progress up without taking him to the ground. The defensive continued its success, intercepting Pat White on his first two passes. The offense continued to stall through the final session, a two-minute drill from the 20-yard line. It stopped the first team with a Quinton Andrews pick, then held the second team to a field goal. The first team, on its second attempt, was picked again. On the final series' the second team broke through with a long score to Nate Sowers, who split two defenders and outran another.

The session was the second-to-last prior to the spring game, which kicks at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. It is expected to be the shortest in Rodriguez's tenure, lasting 80 or fewer plays and less than one hour. Rodriguez said he would not go into the stands for plays this season because of needing to work with three new assistants during the game. This practice was a makeup for one missed earlier this season, and West Virginia said it wanted to capitalize on it during good weather to be able to use the 100 yards at Mountaineer Field.


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