WVU Spring Practice Report: Day 13

With the spring practice period winding down and the annual Gold-Blue spring game only days away, the West Virginia football team used its 13th practice of the young season as another situational scrimmage.

The Mountaineers practiced inside the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility once more, as steady rain fell on Morgantown early Wednesday evening.

The building echoed with the sounds of pads popping and coaches yelling as the team went into its W (or "Oklahoma") drill to begin the session. With players donning full pads, physical play was the rule of the day for WVU.

"That was an intense, get after it, hit them right in the face, Mountaineer old gold and blue practice," said head coach Bill Stewart.

After the completion of the W-drill, the offense and defense went to opposing sidelines and the white netting that hangs from the rafters dropped down, signifying the start of the scrimmage.

By the final whistle, there was reason for frustration and satisfaction on both sides of the football. However, the veteran West Virginia defense had the upper hand for the majority of the day.

Quarterback Jarrett Brown ended the practice 5-of-13 passing for only 30 yards. After a hot start, the senior misfired on his final seven attempts.

Running back Noel Devine had 53 yards on nine carries and scored on a 4-yard touchdown scamper.

But it was the defense that put up points first, scoring a pair of safeties against the first-team offense during the portion of the scrimmage that began with the offense backed up at its own 2-yard line.

The first came as Brown did his best Dan Orlovsky impersonation, stepping out of bounds while rolling out to pass in his own end zone, apparently unaware of where he was on the field.

The second came when fullback Ryan Clarke was tackled in the end zone for a short loss on third down.

That play drew the ire of Stewart, who yelled in frustration at his offensive line for its inability to move its defensive counterparts backward. After practice, the head coach chose to give credit to the defense.

"I called the defense up," Stewart said. "I said, ‘Let me tell you something. That was tough defense.' They squashed them. They got them in a chokehold and wouldn't let them out.

"That was defensive domination coming off our goal line, trying not to let the opponent out. That was a good job."

On the positive side, backup quarterback Coley White had an effective day, completing all five of his passes for 54 yards and running for 17 net yards and a touchdown.

The biggest highlight of the day came from the White and the second-team offense, as White found receiver Jack Crow on a screen pass that went for 27 yards.

RIFLE REPORTS:

  • There was no kicking during the scrimmage, as specialists went outside to work while the offense and defense faced off.

    Stewart addressed the addition of kicker Josh Lider. It was announced that the senior is transferring to West Virginia from Western Washington, which dropped its football program this off-season for financial reasons.

    "What it does is bring more maturity to the position," Stewart said. "It brings someone who has kicked in collegiate games and it gives us more firepower to the arsenal."

    That hardly means the head coach and special teams coordinator is ready to hand over the job to Lider.

    "He has to come in like everyone else and compete," Stewart said. "Maybe that will make for an enlightening summer for our kickers. They had better compete."

  • While Clarke, who gained 31 yards Wednesday, has seen the majority of reps as the Mountaineers' short-yardage back, a state native had an impressive showing in the same role, mostly with the second team offense.

    Jordan Roberts carried six times for 17 yards and scored two touchdowns, both of which came near the end of practice, when the offenses began their drives at the defense's 9-yard line.

    Roberts even saw the field with the first-teamers for one play in the goal line work, as Clarke was briefly hurt after one of his nine carries. The first team defense greeted Roberts in the backfield for a three-yard loss on that play.

  • Stewart and his players had to leave practice quickly once more, as they prepared for a banquet honoring student-athletes with a grade point average of 3.0 or greater.

    "I'm very proud of our academics, and I'm very proud of the Mountaineers who have over a 3.0 GPA," Stewart said.


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