Quick Hits: Mountaineers Hold First Spring Drills - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: Mountaineers Hold First Spring Drills


The Mountaineers took the field on Sunday for the first of 15 practices this spring in preparation for their move to the Big 12.

The first 30 minutes of the drills were open to the media, as they will be throughout the next few weeks. Below are a few notes from day one on Mountaineer Field.

-       Friday is WVU's pro timing day here in Morgantown and in anticipation of their chance to show off in front of NFL scouts, a number of former Mountaineers are in town working out with the strength and conditioning staff.

Bruce Irvin, Najee Goode, Keith Tandy, Devon Brown and Cody Nutter were each at the stadium and walking around the field during practice.

-       It wasn't quite the Christmas tree that some coaches reference with a bunch of players dressed in red and green jerseys, but there were five donning the no-contact red at the beginning of practice.

Dustin Garrison, Jewone Snow, Terence Garvin, Lawrence Smith and Mikal Mayo were non-participants.

-       Senior guard Josh Jenkins, who missed his first shot at a senior season with a knee injury in last year's Gold-Blue Game, was taking part in every drill with no signs that he was being limited by his knee.

Jenkins spent all of last season rehabbing in order to join his teammates for this, his final year at West Virginia.

-       Connor Arlia, the receiver who was involved in a jet ski accident in Miami that kept him out of a portion of Orange Bowl practices and the game itself, was also back to full health as he ran all his routes and caught passes at what appeared to be 100 percent.

-       Many eyes focused on freshman quarterback Ford Childress as soon as we stepped on the field. The kid is big. While his measurables and his high school production have always impressed, the few brief glimpses we were granted of his abilities on Sunday were not overwhelming.

Childress had plenty of zip on many of his shorter passes, but often missed the target. He and the other quarterbacks couldn't seem to get on the same page as the receivers as they ran go routes, never really completing any passes in stride.

It's his first practice, though, and he certainly passes the eye test from day one. Oh, and when he did connect on some of his throws, he inspired an impressed "Oooo" from Smith, who was keeping a close eye on what the freshman was able to do.

-       Another true freshman, Jordan Thompson, was taking part in his first practice with the Mountaineers. Thompson is listed at 5-foot-9, 163 pounds and he certainly doesn't look any bigger than that. Despite his tiny frame, he showed great quickness and a real burst to get down the sideline on deep routes.

-       Josh Francis and Tyler Anderson were getting in work with the defensive line as they prepare for roles that will requite plenty of pass rushing from last year's outside linebackers. Francis looks as though he has taken his role change seriously and added some serious strength to his quickness.

-       Erik Slaughter, WVU's newly hired defensive line coach, was doing a lot of individual instruction as he worked with his students. While teaching a pass rush technique, Slaughter remarked that one of the athletes was like a calendar as he attacked the passer, a reference to how slowly he made his way to the target.

It appeared based on their reaction that his simile was lost on many of the players, who giggled a bit, likely recalling the sort of things former d-line coach Bill Kirelawich would compare them to and finding a calendar to be far less demeaning, if also far less creative.

-       Most of the action we were able to see was special teams, or in Sunday's case – punting. Corey Smith looked solid for much of the periods in which he was in charge of punts, while Michael Molinari struggled to get both length and height on his balls. He would get one or the other, but rarely both.

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