Day Two: WVU Spring Football Practice

As what started as a light drizzle became a steady rainfall in Morgantown, the West Virginia football team headed inside the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility for its second day of spring practice Wednesday.

The Mountaineers donned helmets and shorts for their workout, which lasted just over two hours. The session began with light stretching and technique work in positional drills before concluding with skeleton 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills with limited contact.

"There's enthusiasm there," said WVU head coach Bill Stewart. "Guys are working hard. I appreciate their effort today."

That effort and enthusiasm raised a few eyebrows at one point, as a blocking drill that matched running backs and tight ends against linebackers got more than a bit physical.

Star running back Noel Devine took a swing at linebacker Bob Mary's helmeted head after their matchup became a bit contentious.

Players and coaches stepped in quickly to stop the fight.

Any leftover aggression on Devine's part may have paid off later in the skeleton drills, when the Ft. Myers, Fla., native broke a pair of impressive runs.

The first one, around left end, went for approximately 20 yards. A few plays later, the junior then took a handoff heading right and used a timely juke move to leave safety Eain Smith grasping at air.

The run would have been an easy touchdown as Devine raced down the sideline, but coaches blew their whistles to end the play early.

Skill positions received a lot of attention, as quarterbacks and receivers worked on timing and technique together.

Standing out among the receivers was Bradley Starks, who donned a green No. 9 jersey as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery.

Starks caught nearly everything thrown his way on the day, including an impressive diving catch on a crossing pattern that had a few teammates cheering as he came off the turf.

"Gino Crump made some nice catches, and it was nice to see Bradley Starks make a couple of nice ones," Stewart said.

Senior signal-caller Jarrett Brown was largely impressive, hitting most of his targets and recognizing when coverage was tight and the best option was to tuck the football and run.

Two mistakes kept it from being a near-perfect day for Brown.

The first was a slight underthrow in the direction of an open Alric Arnett, who had beaten two defenders on a fly pattern for what would have been a sure touchdown if the ball had made it to him.

The latter came as Brown rolled to his right and tried to throw a lob to a receiver crossing the middle of the field. Linebacker Pat Lazear just got his mitts on the football and pulled it down for an interception that would have been an easy return touchdown.

Stewart chose to credit Lazear, a junior, rather than blame Brown for the throw.

"Pat Lazear's interception was a big, big play," Stewart said. "I mean, a big play. That was good to see.

"I thought today Jarrett threw the ball really good again."

RIFLE REPORTS

  • West Virginia will not hold practice tomorrow and will reconvene Friday for a session in "shells" -- the team's term for helmets and light shoulder pads.

    That session may be moved up an hour as several members of the team have a math exam scheduled for the afternoon.

  • Among those walking around the sidelines towards the end of practice was WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong.

  • Stewart said Saturday morning's practice will be "full speed, a tough day."

    Around 500 members of the Mountaineer Maniacs are expected to attend, according to the head coach. They will be provided with free pizza.

    Stewart also said that several potential recruits that are currently high school juniors will be on campus with their families to take in the practice and hear a presentation on academics from the University.


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