The Day After: Scrimmage Notebook

The West Virginia Mountaineer football team couldn't have asked for a better day for the final day of preseason camp. On a sunny afternoon at Milan Puskar stadium Bill Stewart and the Mountaineer football team concluded those workouts with practice number 18. They will now shift their focus to Villanova and the team's first game on August 30th.

The kickers and punters were first on the practice field followed by the return men, including Noel Devine. The quarterbacks came out shortly after to loosen their arms with a series of throwing drills and then transitioned into throwing with the wide receivers and taking practice snaps with the running backs. The linemen soon followed and came out for a team stretch.

After the team stretched under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph, the players broke down into their individual positions. The running backs warmed up with coach Chris Beatty and worked on ball security. The linemen worked on getting off the snap of the ball and blocking while the defensive backs and linebackers worked on footwork and ball skills. The team then transitioned into 7 on 7 drills with every quarterback taking snaps.

After the team left the field for a brief period of time the team returned and came right out into victory drills. Victory drills are a form of "Oklahoma" drills in which a ball carrier with three blockers in front go against three defenders trying to tackle the ball carrier in an isolated area. (This drill was called "W" drills by the previous staff, but that, like many things assoicated with that group, has been changed."

The highlight of victory drills came when James Thomas shed his blocker and put a huge hit on ball carrier Jack Crow to set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

The team then moved into pass skeleton where Patrick White, Jarrett Brown and Bradley Starks each took a series of snaps against the linebackers and defensive backs from the defense. Devine and Jock Sanders, wearing gold like White and Brown, took snaps today but wore gold non-contact jerseys to get some rest and were held out of the scrimmage to conclude practice.

White showed a quick release in the pass skeleton and made two strong throws downfield rolling out of the pocket. Jarrett Brown demonstrated his strong arm and hit receiver Tito Gonzalez for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Starks added a touchdown pass of his own hitting receiver Marquel Ali in the back corner of the end zone on a long touchdown pass.

Before scrimmaging to conclude practice the team worked on kick off and kick returns. Back deep on returns were Noel Devine with Jock Sanders, and Ellis Lankster with Eddie Davis. Both Devine and Sanders each had long returns and showed off their impressive speed.

Pat White and younger brother Coley White alternated possessions for the scrimmage and each had a difficult time moving the ball on the Mountaineer defense. The secondary rarely allowed a receiver to run free and both Pat and Coley had trouble finding open receivers.

On offense without Devine and Sanders playing, Mark Rodgers took a lot of snaps and showed that he can play with the first team. Rodgers caught screen passes and showed great speed and elusiveness with the ball in his hands. The scrimmage ended impressively when Pat McAfee ended a two minute drill with a 49-yard field goal that soared through the top of the uprights.

WVU now shifts into its regular season practice schedule. The team will work out on Sunday, and have Monday as its off day during the season.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories