Fall Practice Report: Day 3

Just as WVU players were beginning to get into the real meat of the third practice of the fall, the skies over Morgantown opened up and thunderstorms forced the team inside for the remainder of Monday afternoon's session.

What began as a light drizzle not too long after practice began turned into a full-fledged downpour 45 minutes in.

As lightning cracked overhead, it appeared head coach Bill Stewart had quickly decided to move his players into the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility to continue their work.

However, just as the players started to reach the tunnel in one corner of the Milan Puskar Center side of the stadium, they were told to wait in the tunnel to see if the storm would pass over.

After a roughly 12 minute delay, during which the rains only intensified and the lightning became more frequent, the West Virginia team moved into its indoor facility just as the time came for practice to be closed to the media.

While there was little action on the field to witness, it was clear that the focus of the early part of practice was on special teams work.

Kickers Josh Lider, Cameron Starke and Tyler Bitancurt took turns kicking field goals from both hash marks at intermediate (30-45 yard) distances. The results, as has been the case thus far this fall, were mixed.

Bitancurt was good from around 35 yards on his first attempt from the left hash, but then moved to the right hash and hooked his next kick wide left.

Lider, a senior transfer from Western Washington University, hit kicks from both hashes from around 40 yards, but later had a kick from the left hash at a similar distance blocked by the defending specialists.

In punt work that followed, Lider nearly had a kick blocked once more, but instead likely would have drawn a 5-yard penalty on the opposition, as one overzealous special teamer over-ran his block attempt and crashed into the kicker.

Presumptive starting punter Scott Kozlowski misfired on his first attempt, which traveled around 35 yards in the air with little hang time. He atoned on his next punt, skying a kick that traveled around 45 yards in the air and was angled perfectly to draw the returner out of bounds as he fielded the ball.

While Stewart's special teams units took up the main playing field, players not involved in those drills continued to work with their position coaches on fundamentals around the perimeter of the field.

Running backs worked on ball security by having teammates attempt to strip the football loose while they trotted up and down the field. Defensive linemen were drilled on keeping proper balance and pad level while attacking quickly at the snap.

There was little chance to see any real action with the skill position players, as the rains came before any full-scale "team" practicing was to begin.


  • For the third day in a row, Ryan Spiker and Eugene Smith were the only players hampered at all by injury, as both continued to wear their green jerseys.

    Smith warmed up and participated in the quarterback drills that occurred before the thunderstorm hit, but Spiker spent at least part of practice on a stationery bicycle in the back of one end zone, apparently unable to participate in at least some of the offensive line drills.

  • Players were in "shells" for the third practice of the season -- the team's term for shoulder pads and helmets.

    Stewart said after Sunday's practice that the Mountaineers will first suit up in full pads on Wednesday.

  • We'll have more coverage later today, as Stewart is set to meet with the media at 5:45 p.m.

    Interviews with the WVU players are set to follow.

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