In Bloom

With spring practice drawing to a close, WVU safety Terence Garvin has reason for optimism. The rising sophomore has spent the duration of his first spring as a Mountaineer splitting reps between the first and second team defenses.

For much of the 11-on-11 "team" drills, however, Garvin has been almost exclusively with the first team defense. He has been at the spur safety position in West Virginia's 3-3-5 defense, with Robert Sands at free safety and Sidney Glover at bandit.

When Garvin takes reps with the second teamers, he does so at bandit. It's a way for the young safety to see the defense from multiple positions, a benefit of having learned the (admittedly similar) responsibilities of both spots from position coach Steve Dunlap.

"Spur and bandit, they're like, interchangeable," said Garvin. "So it's kind of like you learn all the positions. When you're in the meeting room, you learn how to do everything. If you know what everybody else does, it helps you play faster, so that's real important too."

Playing faster is a requirement to be able to stick around with the Mountaineers' top unit.

The talent surrounding (and opposing) Garvin in practice is a notch above what he was used to practicing with as a reserve last season, and so he knows his level of play has to rise as well, if he hopes to earn a starting spot this season.

"You're with the ones, and they really know what they're doing," he said, grinning. "So you've got to really know what you're doing, or else you stick out for being out of your assignment."

So it helps that Garvin's first set of spring drills at WVU has been all about learning. He said the differences between fall camp and spring practice are numerous, but both have helped him grow more comfortable in coordinator Jeff Casteel's defense.

While there is plenty of competition to see who will ultimately earn the starting spots at each of West Virginia's three safety positions, Garvin said the players vying for the jobs are just trying to improve themselves.

"It's a little more live (than fall camp)," he said. "But there's a lot of learning stuff. You can really learn the defense and I guess the offense can really learn the offense. For me, it's been pretty good. I've been learning a lot of different stuff, and it's really helping."

"People are getting better every day, and that's the main thing. That's all we're trying to do."

"(The coaches) tell us we're doing alright. We've got to get better, of course. But we're doing alright."

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