Fall Practice Report: Day 11

With fall camp beginning to wind down and the start of classes looming at the beginning of next week, the WVU coaching staff elected to have its players work once again on "live" situations by scrimmaging Wednesday afternoon.

Before getting down to business in the scrimmage proper, Bill Stewart once again took advantage of the fact that the Mountaineers were already in full pads to start things off with the Oklahoma drill.

Things were fairly even in the famously intense drill, with players on both offense and defense having moments of glory.

Freshman running back Shawne Alston absorbed a solid hit from defensive lineman Josh Taylor, who had fought off his block to meet the runner head on. Alston managed to keep his feet and shuffle away for a few extra yards in an impressive show of power and balance.

The offense once again shined when Daquan Hargrett cut left after getting around the initial block and quickly scooted past both of the other two levels of defenders.

However, the blue-shirted unit was not to be outdone. Linebacker Reed Williams had a strong hit on Mike Poitier, and defensive lineman Citrine Warren was impressive in fighting off his block to make a hit on Jordan Roberts.

After five minutes of work between the "V" shaped layout of cones, Stewart's special teams units took to the field for a bit of work just before the start of the scrimmage.

In the competition to be starting place-kicker, Tyler Bitancurt may be forging ahead of transfer Josh Lider.

Against a rush, Bitancurt converted a point-after kick, a pair of 35-yard field goals (one of which was low and perhaps should have been blocked) and one more from 42 yards away.

Lider pushed his first attempt from the left hash mark wide to the right from 40 yards away. Undeterred, he stepped back and just had enough leg to make his next kick, which came from 48 yards away.

His final attempt, a 34-yarder from the right hash mark, stayed right and was no good.

Stewart elected to have his punters work with their heels in the back of the end zone and kicking against a rush.

Scott Kozlowski consistently booted the ball between 40 and 45 yards in the air. His foot solidly behind the ball on his last kick, the senior boomed one that traveled 56 yards through the sunny skies before coming back down to the turf.

Finally, the offense and defense took to the field for the beginning of the scrimmage.

The first possession for the No. 1 offense began with two intermediate gains, leaving a third-and-two for the offense to convert.

Alston came into the backfield and received the handoff on a simple run up the middle. The blue-clad defense surged and choked off the runner at the point of attack, yielding only a yard -- and thus once more left the West Virginia offense a yard short.

Things went from bad to worse for the offense, as both the first and second-team units turned the ball over in the first 15 minutes of the scrimmage.

Freshman quarterback Eugene Smith, taking snaps with the No. 2 offense, threw a pass down the sideline that was picked off by cornerback Kent Richardson.

On the next possession for the first-teamers, cornerback Brandon Hogan came untouched on a corner blitz and rushed Jarrett Brown into a poor throw over the middle that fell incomplete.

Two plays later, halfback Noel Devine was hit hard as he attempted to cut outside on a run to his right. The speedster fumbled the ball away, and Hogan once again was there to recover the ball.

NOTES:

  • The most notable change in the depth chart from earlier in fall camp was along the offensive line, where redshirt freshman Joey Madsen played at center with the No. 1 offense.

    Eric Jobe, a fourth-year junior, had been the presumptive starter previously. On Wednesday, he spent practice snapping to quarterback Eugene Smith as part of the second-team offense.

  • For the first time of fall camp, red jerseys (signaling a player's inability to participate in practice at all) were seen on the Mountaineer Field turf.

    Ryan Clarke was among those spending time pedaling a stationary bicycle, as the big-bodied fullback reportedly is nursing an ankle injury.

    Safety Eain Smith was also in red with an undisclosed injury.

  • Check back with us tonight for a recap of Stewart's press conference, which will likely yield answers about both of the above points as well as the reports of Tevita Finau's planned arrival in Morgantown on Friday.


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