On a sunny afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium the Mountaineer defense dominated the team's second scrimmage of the spring, forcing the offense into three turnovers. Similar to the team's first scrimmage last Saturday, the afternoon began with t Oklahoma drills to set the tone and build intensity for the scrimmage. Both teams started the scrimmage loose and played with high intensity for the majority of the afternoon.
On the first series of the scrimmage, the defense set the tone by forcing the offense, lead by quarterback Pat White, to go three and out after safety Quinton Andrews broke up a pass intended for receiver Tito Gonzalez. Pat Lazear started the scrimmage at middle linebacker, and shared first-team reps with Anthony Leonard. Starting middle linebacker Reed Williams is sitting out the spring after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in January.
Linebackers Archie Sims and Mortty Ivy each had interceptions and lead a strong performance by the WVU linebackers. J.T. Thomas also looked impressive as well, making strong tackles and showing good speed from sideline to sideline.
On the offensive side of the ball quarterbacks Pat White and Jarrett Brown shared the majority of the snaps while Bradley Starks played both quarterback and receiver. Starks made what may have been the play of the day on offense when Brown took the snap at the 50 yard line and rolled to his right, made a strong throw on the run and hit Starks in stride as he ran to paydirt.
The offense had their share of mistakes today, which head left head coach Bill Stewart and offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen visibly frustrated afterward. Brown and White each threw interceptions and receiver Jock Sanders lost a fumble on the goal line, thanks in large part to a nice play by J.T. Thomas. Brown's interception came when linebacker Archie Sims jumped a short pass in the flat and hauled down the interception one-handed. Sims likely could have taken the play back for a score, but officials stopped play at Stewart's behest so that Brown, attempting to chase down Sims, would not be hit. White's interception came in the red zone on pass that went off the hands of receiver Wes Lyons and into the waiting arms of linebacker Ivy.
The bright spots on offense today came from some familiar faces. Running back Noel Devine had a very impressive run out of his own end zone turning what seemed to be a sure safety into a 50-yard run. A defender seemingly had the speedy sophomore's jersey in his grasp, only to lose the grip and watch Devine criss-cross the end zone, get the corner, and zoom upfield past the defense. Mike Poitier also had a few impressive runs including a 30-yard run on 3rd and short.
All around the defense was the better team in today's scrimmage and head coach Bill Stewart sang their praises afterwards. The team as a whole played with a high intensity level and leading Stewart to announce that there will not be another 6:00 AM bonding session tomorrow morning. The Mountaineers will return to the field Monday afternoon.