Back In The Flow

After missing some of spring practice due to a death in the family, junior running back Noel Devine came back Wednesday and looked as though he didn't miss a beat. The junior had a few impressive breakout runs on the afternoon, and while head coach Bill Stewart was displeased with the defense that allowed them, he certainly wasn't unhappy to have his feature running back available for duty again.

"It's nice to see No. 7 back," said Stewart, referring, as he often does, to a players by number instead of by name. "He brings electricity into the plan and he hit some holes today, and that was fun to watch."

Devine's first day in full pads proved to be an entertaining one. The running back found several holes in the defense during drills, and took advantage of one by taking the ball all the way to the end zone.

"I'm excited," said Devine of his return to action. "Today was my first day in pads and I'm ready to get to Friday and keep it going. I feel like defenses have to respect Jarrett's arm and his running ability, and [they] see the receivers as threats. I think it's going to be a balanced offense and it's going to open up the run a lot."

After building the important relationship between running back and quarterback with Pat White over his first two years at WVU, Devine sees himself working just as well with senior quarterback Jarrett Brown.

"I think he has stepped up a lot to be a leader," said Devine of Brown. "He just has to go out and play and get more of a feel for the game. I feel like this is his year and he's going to have a big role in the offense. He knows he has big shoes to fill because (White's) gone and I think he's going to do that well."

For his part, Brown is excited to have the talented runner to work with this season as well.

"I told him when he scored a touchdown off to the left that I missed him," joked Brown. "It's another dimension when you have to cover 50 yards down the field and the line of scrimmage. He's explosive and that's the ability he has."

If Devine can continue to improve his reads in the running game, he and Brown should make an effective offensive combination in 2009. Another piece of that puzzle is receivers to catch the ball, and Devine is also optimistic about that falling into place as well. Alric Arnett continues to show consistency and improvement, and another player that has been long-awaited is also making a splash.

"I've been noticing Wes Lyons since the bowl game," Devine said. " He came back strong from his injury and now that he's 100%, he's doing great. He's a big threat on our team and I feel like he's going to be the underdog. It helps get all of our receivers on the field and with all of our receivers on the field; I feel like our entire offense is a threat and that we're complete. Now we have to execute. He's been here for three years and I think people underestimate him. He's going to show people what he's capable of doing."

On an offense that lost its heart and soul, and will be searching for a new identity, Devine will have to be one of the players that helps replace the lost productivity of Patrick White. Judging from Wednesday's work, he is ready to jump in and do just that.

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