But there was little doubt that West Virginia's 3-3-5 was at it most effective thus far this spring, no matter what the reason.
It started in the pass "skeleton" drill, where injured quarterback Geno Smith continued to take every rep.
But Smith had perhaps his worst day of the spring, repetitively missing open receivers and making poor decisions about where the throw the ball at times.
It started early in the "skeleton" -- a 7-on-7 drill where the offense and defense go against each other without linemen involved. Smith was nearly intercepted by Derek Knight on a pass intended for tight end Will Johnson in the end zone. Johnson was double-covered on the play, and only a dropped ball by Knight prevented a pick.
Briefly, the rising sophomore signal-caller seemed to rally himself. On the very next play, he calmly threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Davis.
But that was one of few bright spots on the afternoon for Smith. A few plays later, he finally was picked off -- this time by reserve Tyler Anderson -- in the end zone.
That seemed to change things for Smith. He badly missed an open Noel Devine on a simple screen pass toward the sideline, throwing the ball well over the diminutive running back's head.
Then came another near interception, as safety Eain Smith failed to cleanly catch what would have been a pick in the end zone.
Later, Johnson was the intended target on a pass towards the corner of the end zone, and had worked his way open, only to watch the pass fly over his head as well.
Ditto for Tavon Austin, who had come open cleanly and was almost completely uncovered on a "fly" pattern towards pay-dirt; Smith's pass was far out of reach for the speedy receiver.
Smith did recover in time to end his part of practice with another touchdown pass, this time to Stedman Bailey, also of about 20 yards.
In stepped Coley White, the quarterback tasked with running the offense in 11-on-11 drills, as doctors and coaches won't allow Smith to participate then for fear his injured foot would be stepped on, and thus, further hurt.
He fared little better. Sidney Glover intercepted one of his passes early on a ball that appeared to deflect off multiple WVU players (perhaps even including someone's foot) before coming to rest in the safety's hands.
Just a few plays later, linebacker Casey Vance got into the act, making an impressive play of his own to dive to the Milan Puskar Stadium turf and come up with an interception of his own.
The defense also set the tone physically on the day.
Vance, a Mountain State native and product of Petersburg High School, drew some attention with a pad-popping hit on Andrew Goldbaugh in the skeleton drill. A trio of defenders, including safety Robert Sands and cornerback Pat Miller, teamed up for a big hit on the tight end Johnson in 11-on-11 work.
As practice wound down, a pass from White was badly overthrown into an area of the field where no receivers were even present. The ball fell harmlessly to the turf between three defenders, perhaps summing up what was a frustrating day for the West Virginia offense.
Head coach Bill Stewart did not comment on Hogan's situation in the immediate aftermath of the practice.
The long-time Mountaineer mentor chatted on the turf with long-time program assistants Donnie Young and Mike Kerin, among others, as drills continued on the field.
Smith was good from 29, 32, 34 and 46 yards. His lone miss came from the right hash, 39 yards away. The kick had plenty of leg but was just wide to the right.
That was in contrast to previous days, as noted by defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich, who doubles as one of the coaches in charge of the field goal block team.
Before practice ever started, Kirelawich chided Bitancurt about continuing to be held out of practice. In response, the kicker admired the way the block team had been giving Smith fits. Kirelawich wasn't quick to give the same praise to his players.
"If they kick any lower," Kirelawich said to Bitancurt, deadpanning, "they'd take our heads off."
Punting work was a bit less promising, as both Smith and presumptive starter Greg Pugnetti struggled to consistently get much on kicks out of their own end zone. The best punt for each kicker traveled about 40 yards in the air before being fielded.
The physical drill takes place in three sets of narrow lines, where a runner tries to get through three levels of defense -- linemen, linebackers and defensive backs. At each level, there is one blocker tasked with preventing his man from getting to the ball-carrier.
It's typically a physical drill that features some big plays from both sides. But with limited running back depth, there are occasionally some interesting choices for players to tote the pigskin.
Indeed, reserve quarterback Josh DePasquale has been one of the runners every time the team has done the physical drill -- and, perhaps because of some solid blocking in front of him, he has come away relatively unscathed more than almost any other Mountaineer.
The same hasn't held true for holder Jeremy Kash, who has repeatedly been subjected to some big hits from linebackers and defensive backs in the drill.