Stewart Pleased With White's Progress

Over the past three years and change, WVU quarterback Patrick White has been the recipient of much praise.

With the ever-jovial Bill Stewart now leading the way in Morgantown, White's biggest fan just might be his new head coach.

Last season's Mountaineer passing game was largely dependent on getting the ball horizontally out to the flat and into the hands of leading receiver Darius Reynaud, who has since departed for the NFL. While bubble screens and flat routes will still be an important part of the offense this coming fall, Stewart and the offensive coaching staff hope to emphasize a downfield passing game more so than in years past.

Effectively carrying out that plan depends largely on the ability of White and his left arm. And if Monday's workout at Milan Puskar Stadium is any indication of the fall, then the nation's deadliest running quarterback will be more than capable of making teams pay through the air as well.

"Wow," Stewart told reporters. "I thought he threw some shots. How about over the middle in that hole? We've been trying to hit that all camp, and boy today he really threw it during that two-minute drill. You can't defend it, because the safety has to get real deep, but the linebacker can't get too deep."

White's exploits in Monday's practice came on the heels of a somewhat-disappointing scrimmage this past Saturday when the Daphne, Ala. native misfired on two interceptions, including a downfield heave on the first offensive possesion of the afternoon which sailed right into the arms of free safety Boogie Allen. Though his unofficial throwing numbers from the spring's first scrimmage weren't anything to write home about, White's progression with the new offensive principles installed by Mullen looks to be right on if not ahead of schedule.

And though his mistakes in games and practice alike are few and far between, White continues to impress his head coach by never seeming to make the same mistake more than once.

"He forced that ball the other day, and he knew that," Stewart said. "I didn't even have to say anything to him, because he's harder on himself than any of the coaches are on him."

Which is just another indication, according to Stewart, of the innate leadership ability which has blessed the Heisman Trophy candidate since he was just a youngster.

"He oozes leadership," Stewart said. "Patrick White, like (legendary former Mountaineer head coach Don) Nehlen used to say, he's got it. Whatever it is, he's got it. So, that's special. I'll never, ever worry about that."

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On the receiving end of the passing game, Stewart continues to be pleased with the play of sophomores Brandon Hogan, Jock Sanders and Noel Devine. All three had standout moments during Monday's practice.

"I thought Brandon Hogan had another good day," Stewart said. "He had a drop there at the end, but he was really good and I was very pleased about that. Jock Sanders made some nice catches.

"Noel caught the ball coming out of the backfield extremely well, which was neat to see."

The Mountaineers spent a considerable amount of time on Monday working on the two-minute drill. Stewart expects to do the same in practices on Wednesday and Friday, as well as in Saturday's scrimmage.

"We want to keep doing as much work in the skeleton and two-minute drill to get us ready for game situations," Stewart noted.

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In addition to the three workouts later this week, West Virginia will practice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week, and finish the spring with the annual Gold-Blue game on April 19.

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