Spring Practice Report - 4/2/08

West Virginia came out in full pads and wasted no time putting them to use.

Just as head coach Bill Stewart promised in his post-practice remarks on Monday, the team stepped on to the field with high intensity and immediately started "W" drills, a one-on-one open field tackling drill which promises plenty of pad popping from whistle to whistle.

Slot receivers Brandon Hogan and Jock Sanders showed their athleticism in the drill continually making people miss with impressive quickness and speed. On the defensive side of the ball, linebackers J.T. Thomas and Mortty Ivy continued their impressive springs by showing consistent open-field tackling ability and making solid initial contact on the ball carrier.

The first and second team offensive line and running backs came together to practice their inside running game against defense with quarterbacks Pat White and Jarrett Brown sharing the snaps. Senior offensive tackle Ryan Stanchek wore a boot on his left foot today as a precaution to rest a minor foot injury. Coach Stewart said afterward that Stanchek will likely sit out practice on Friday and possibly the first scrimmage on Saturday in order to make sure his foot heals completely. On the opposite end of the field the quarterbacks and receivers continued to work on their timing, running pass patterns on the defensive backs.

Today was the sixth practice of the spring for the Mountaineers, but just the second for quarterback Jarrett Brown, who has returned to the gridiron after spending the second half of the basketball season helping out Bob Huggins and company. Brown again showed no signs of rust displaying a strong and accurate arm as he continues to get comfortable with the new offensive terminology being installed by first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen. The team defense once again looked to be the better team in practice led predominantly by linebackers Thomas and Ivy.

After a break from inside running drills the team split with the defensive backs and linebackers matching up against the backs and receivers in seven on seven drills. All three quarterbacks, White, Brown and Bradley Starks looked good throwing the ball, delivering accurate passes to the receivers hitting them in stride. The secondary looked impressive, rarely allowing a receiver to get much room in the secondary to catch a pass.

The team ended practice with the team offense and defense going head to head as an entire unit. The defense again continued to show excellent team speed putting five and six defenders to tackle the ball carrier seemingly every play. Linebacker Pat Lazear shined, making several tackles including a stop the backfield on running back Mike Portier. The highlight on offense came when the team was backed up on their goal-line and White hooked up on deep to wide receiver Wes Lyons who used his height to rise above Andrews and come down with the catch around mid-field.

The team showed good intensity on both sides of the ball today and especially on defense. Players were flying around on defense and showed great lateral field coverage on several swing passes. The offense also showed good intensity today, continuing to mix in new formations and attack the defense vertically.


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