WVU Spring Football Practice Report: Day 1

The West Virginia University football team kicked off spring practice on Tuesday. It was the Mountaineers' first formal meeting as a team, complete with coaches, since their victory in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in December.

With the departure of so many familiar faces, there were many new people in Tuesday's lineups, but one new face that was not seen during practice was freshman wide receiver Logan Heastie.

"He's in a clearinghouse situation," said Coach Stewart. "It's under clearinghouse review."

The Mountaineers did see the return of a few members of their squad. Junior defensive back Brandon Hogan was back after missing the bowl game and junior holder Jeremy Kash and senior running back Max Anderson were back after being suspended last year. Senior linebacker Reed Williams is back and healthy after taking a medical redshirt last season.

"This is the best I've felt in probably two or three years," said Williams. "Looking in retrospect, it was a great decision what I did last year. It was tough but I definitely made the right decision. We've got the opportunity to be a great defense. I hope to be a leader that can help us get there."

Unlike the defense, which has leaders like Williams returning, the offensive line lost the majority of their experience with the graduation of players like Ryan Stanchek and Mike Dent. Senior Selvish Capers and junior Eric Jobe offer the most experience on the young line.

"Being the center I have to step up with calling plays out and telling guys what to do," said Jobe. "(We need to) just get everyone on the same page and get in and watch film. I think everyone will rise to the occasion and we will find the guys we need to play."

Sophomore Gino Gradkowski and junior Matt Timmerman saw time starting on the offensive line during Tuesday's practice. Both were members of last year's scout team. Freshman Joseph Madsen was rotating at the center position with Jobe.

Senior Scott Kozlowski saw his first time practicing as the starting punter in two and a half years. Kozlowski punted as a freshman until a 26-yard punt against then No. 5 Louisville relegated him to the bench. After regaining his starting position at that spot, at least for the moment, Stewart has decided to try Kozlowski out on kickoffs as well. Fullback Will Johnson saw some time with the kickoff team in an effort to get more strength and speed on that unit.

Senior Jarrett Brown and redshirt freshman Coley White rotated at the quarterback position. The two worked with both the wide receivers and running backs. White's arm showed obvious improvement, in both mechanics and strength, from last year.

Noticeably absent from practice was junior wide receiver Jock Sanders, who remains suspended indefinitely. Senior Ovid Goulbourne did some cardio work in a red jersey. He is out due to a labrum injury. Sophomore Bradley Starks saw limited time at wide receiver and did not take snaps at quarterback as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Junior Scooter Berry also joined the workout of the injured players after failing to meet Stewart's standards.

"(Berry) had a headache the other day after lifting," said Stewart. "He's got a couple of things that he has to do for me. He has a couple workouts he has to do for old Bill Stewart. He's not in the dog house. He's not barking but he's on the porch. When I'm ready to let him practice I will let him practice."

The Mountaineers continue practice though April 16th. The annual Gold/Blue spring game will take place on April 18th with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff.

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