Quick Hits: WVU Spring Practice Day Five - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: WVU Spring Practice Day Five

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MORGANTOWN -

The second week of spring practice continued Tuesday with another beautiful day for the WVU football team.

-       We'll begin with the injury report. Aside from the normal suspects – Dustin Garrison, Jewone Snow and Terence Garvin – Ivan McCartney continues to sport a red jersey as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Both Shaq Rowell and Trevor Demko were out with minor head injuries after what athletic trainer Dave Kerns said was a matter of getting their heads bumped in drills with the offensive line. Linebacker Jared Barber was in a green jersey with a minor neck injury that Kerns does not believe will keep him sidelined long.

-       Speaking of the offensive and defensive line bumping heads, there was plenty of that in Tuesday's practice. Bill Bedenbaugh's crew went up against Erik Slaughter's squad and for the most part each coach was displeased. Still, it appeared that the offensive line got the better of the defensive line in many of the one-on-one matchups. Quinton Spain looked vastly improved from where he was at this time last year as he prepares for a starting role along the line. Joe Madsen and Jeff Braun were the other two top performers, consistently receiving praise while the d-line victim was called out for his failure to win the battle.

-       Shawne Alston talked after practice and said that in addition to players like himself and Andrew Buie, Ryan Clarke has been getting carries at running back, too. Clarke had those duties taken away last season after one too many fumbles and Coach Robert Gillespie said he was pleased to see how the junior took to his new role as solely a blocker.

Now it appears that he will at least be given the opportunity to join the backfield and get back to the sort of play that gave him a team-high eight rushing touchdowns in the 2010 season.

"I don't know if I was supposed to say that," Alston said sheepishly after telling us Clarke was getting carries.

Is he fumbling anymore?

"Definitely holding onto the ball," he said with confidence.

-       Dante Campbell is big. The redshirt freshman came to WVU hoping to make an early impact, but he was not needed with last year's array of receivers. In his second season, he is already lining up at the front of each drill, eager to prove his worth and get himself playing time. With McCartney out right now, he is running precise routes and making the majority of the catches when the ball is thrown his way.

-       Another big body is Cody Clay. The other day, Dana Holgorsen confirmed that Clay would remain at slot receiver due to a shortage of bodies at the position. He is certainly not fast, but in a few days of practice I haven't once seen him drop a ball. He could add a strong dimension to the offense as a pass blocker and a safety net for Geno Smith.

-       Darwin Cook told us after practice that he has been impressed with some of the younger safeties, including freshmen Karl Joseph and Sean Walters. Today in practice, Walters was moved from the strong safety position to Garvin's "Star" position, which is more of a safety/linebacker hybrid.

Cook says he will move to the Star position in third down situations.

-       Many of the defenders we spoke with said the new scheme is much easier than what it had been in the past with Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5. Sophomore linebacker Jared Barber believes the old trend of one great defense every three or so seasons will fall by the wayside because more high school prospects will come to WVU prepared to play the type of defense they have implemented. Cook says it isn't necessarily easier, but it allows players to use instincts and athleticism more readily than what he learned in previous seasons.

 

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