The Mountaineer football team suited up for the first team scrimmage of the spring practices Saturday afternoon and the coaches wasted no time getting the team fired up. The team came out and starting hitting in the warm up session, running Oklahoma drills to set an intense tone for the rest of the afternoon.
Once the players finished with their warm ups the first team offense and defense ran out to the field to take their first series. The first team offense was lead on to the field by quarterback Pat White and starting running back Noel Devine. The defense was lead by starting linebacker Morty Ivy and junior safety Quinton Andrews.
This was the first time new offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen got the opportunity to showcase his new system. The offense looked efficient in their first scrimmage and had just three glaring mistakes in 80 plays. An offside call, a misalignment by left tackle and fumble were the three mistakes cited by head coach Bill Stewart after the scrimmage.
Noel Devine only played the first series on offense to allow other players to get the chance to show the coaching staff what they could do and receivers Brandon Hogan and Jock Sanders took advantage of the opportunity. Both players looked impressive today and each got the chance to line up in the backfield and get some carries.
Hogan's afternoon was highlighted by a screen pass from quarterback Bradley Starks that he took twenty yards for a score, thanks in no small part to a crushing perimeter block from redshirt freshman offensive guard Chad Snodgrass. Sanders did a little bit of everything this afternoon from running the ball out of the backfield to catching screen passes. The sophomore showed good quickness and speed in the flats on a couple screen passes.
At the quarterback position White moved well in the pocket and seemed to look more comfortable passing from the pocket. White did throw two interceptions -- one to safety Franchot Allen on the first series and another to Charles Pugh during two-point conversion drills -- but for the majority of the scrimmage showed the ability to make strong and accurate throws. Jarrett Brown looked impressive throwing today making a couple of long completions and throwing a touchdown to Hogan. White, Starks and Brown all took snaps, with the White and Brown sharing reps with the first team.
Also looking impressive on offense today was receiver Will Johnson, who continued to take more snaps at tight end and fullback. On several plays Johnson caught the ball on slip screens both out of the backfield and on the line and showed good speed in the secondary after the catch.
The defense continued to look impressive, rarely allowing receivers to run free and keeping constant pressure on the quarterbacks. Allen's interception of White on the first series was the highlight on defense. Defensive end Julian Miller had a good showing turning in a sack on White as well as couple impressive stops on the run.
In all, the offense moved the ball well at times but continue to show some growing pains as they adapt to a new system that relies more on throwing. The quarterbacks all played well and the offense as a whole rarely made mental mistakes. The defense showed great team speed and put a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks.
BlueGoldNews.com will have plenty more from Saturday's scrimmage, including photo galleries, audio, and player features over the next couple of days. West Virginia will practice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week with another Saturday scrimmage to follow a week from today.