Quick Hits: WVU Holds Last Drills Before Spring Break - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: WVU Holds Last Drills Before Spring Break


It was another beautiful day in Morgantown for WVU's sixth practice of the spring session. Thursday's drills were the last before the football team – and the rest of the university – takes off for spring break next week. Here are some notes from the 30 minutes that were open to the media.

-       DeShawn Coleman, a running back from Hickory High School in Pennsylvania, was at practice along with some members of the Hickory football staff. Coleman currently has offers from WVU, Penn State and Purdue. He impressed the Mountaineers staff at a junior day this year and from talking to his coaches, he is extremely high on the idea of joining them in the 2013 season.

-       We continue to get a look at special teams and on Thursday it was situational punting, which was more intriguing than what we're used to seeing in the spring. On a few occasions, the team did a direct snap to either Ryan Clarke or Taige Redman, faking punts should the situation call for it.

Corey Smith also worked on pinning the opponent deep in its own territory and while there were times it was successful, there were also many instances in which the players were out of position and the ball bounced right by them.

-       I missed Sunday's practice, so I was unaware that the team had started really getting the pads popping with an Oklahoma drill. Unlike in previous years, when it was referred to as the "W" or "Victory" drill, this one consisted of just one line of blockers and a straight lane of cones rather than one that spread out as it progressed.

Ryan Clarke had double duty, carrying the ball at times while getting most of his reps as a blocker. J.D. Izon found a good deal of running room and made it to the end of the drill more often than not, while it seemed like the group with Andrew Buie toting the rock struggled. He rarely made it past the defender unless he had run himself out of bounds.

-       Speaking of Buie, he continues to be bothered by an ankle injury that took him off the field twice on Thursday. He spoke about it briefly on Tuesday, but said it wasn't something he was concerned about. Since it is still spring, he intends to stay off it as long as it takes to heal, but clearly he is still giving it a go.

-       Players can line up in any order they want when going through drills, but there are some instances in which the order is indicative of the depth chart. With that in mind, the cornerbacks ran through each drill with Brodrick Jenkins or Pat Miller first and then Terrell Chestnut.

Chestnut, a highly touted recruit who was forced to redshirt due to a lingering shoulder injury, certainly looks like the biggest of the candidates at the position. I asked how he was feeling these days and he said he's back to full health and has no intention of ever rocking a red jersey.

While he can't have full control over that, it's a good attitude to have. There have been plenty of players in the past who likely wouldn't have cared too much if they were in red during the spring, so long as they got their reps in the fall.

-       When the players are in full pads, defensive drills are usually more entertaining to watch than what goes on offensively. So I spent today roaming amongst the blue shirts. Keith Patterson and Steve Dunlap are splitting the linebackers with Patterson handling Sam and Will, while Dunlap guides the Star.

Both groups were working on tackling drills, practicing correct form to first block and then either disengage to make a play or take the dummy to the ground.

Freshman Sean Walters, who began the spring as a strong safety, is making the transition to star and it seemed evident that Dunlap was giving him extra attention at times. Walters essentially switched positions due to his performance in the weight room, where he says he has gained 15 pounds since he began training with Mike Joseph and staff back in January.

-       The linebackers and defensive linemen were getting physical, but the corners were mostly getting instruction. While running a variety of coverages, Coach Daron Roberts was constantly barking out instructions, clearly putting his emphasis on technique and assignments over the physical play. His interaction with the student-athletes has always been enjoyable to watch, and today was no different.

-       Tyler Anderson, who is moving to the "buck" position as more of a outside linebacker and defensive end, pointed out that a big difference in terms of drills for the d-line this spring has been the addition of a net to keep the players' pads down and create leverage on the blocker.

That net was getting more than its fair share of use Thursday with each position on the line running a variety of drills under its shade.

-       This goes without saying, but Dana Holgorsen is a head coach now. I say that because this is the first time we've really seen him in a practice setting at Mountaineer Field being a head coach rather than an offensive coordinator.

Practices were closed all during the season and just a brief portion of a couple days were open to the media in Miami, so this is a side that is interesting to see.

He spent much of his practice Thursday roaming from position to position, but it seemed as though he was spending the majority of his time with the defense. On a number of occasions, he was bent over, hands on knees, simply monitoring the every move of the line as it went through drills with Coach Erik Slaughter.

From time to time, he would go over to an individual and ask a question or share a teaching point. It's safe to say he's enjoying this head coaching thing.

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