Quick Hits: WVU Opens Preseason Camp - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: WVU Opens Preseason Camp


"Yeah! Practice!"

Jeff Braun shouted out his excitement as the first horn sounded, stretching ended and the Mountaineers began the first practice of the 2012 football season.

The 30 minutes open to the media does not allow much time for analysis when all that is available to see is a few individual drills and one or two special teams periods. Still, the atmosphere is always more revved up on day one than any other day of camp (except, perhaps, the first day in full pads).

The brief period of time open to the media is one-fifth of a total of two and a half hours that will be available for note taking. Here is what Thursday offered:


-       There were no red or green jerseys at the practice, as one strength coach happily pointed out. Terence Garvin, Dustin Garrison, Pat Miller, Jewone Snow and anyone else who had been held back to varying degrees since January were showing few, if any, signs of the injuries that kept them from full participation in previous months. Garrison, WVU's leading rusher as a freshman, did sport a brace on his left knee, but he did not sit out of any of the few drills the running backs ran in the 30 minutes we saw.

-       In addition to the news that no one was currently injured, another strength coach also noted that Pat Miller's work ethic during the summer months has been among the best on the team, and by far the best he has shown in his four years in Morgantown. Miller, who lined up alongside Brodrick Jenkins in each drill, was clearly itching to take part in his first real practice since breaking his foot in the spring.

-       Freshman quarterback Ford Childress was practicing with the team after being held out of the spring game. Childress, a Houston native, had been arrested for driving under the influence in Morgantown just two days prior to the annual Gold-Blue Game.

-       Christian Brown looks the part. While the 30 minutes limits the amount of freshman scouting that can be done, this rookie defensive lineman showed the size and speed that could make him an early contributor on a line that hopes to feature at least two players at each position. Brown, listed at 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, did well with the interior linemen in the few drills before the media's time was up.

-       Practice did not get off to an outstanding start as far as special teams is concerned when senior field goal kicker Tyler Bitancurt knocked an extra point off the right goal post. From that point on, he was true with each of his kicks, but the shaky start wasn't the most positive sign for a kicker who was inconsistent at times in his junior campaign. Freshman kicker/punter Josh Lambert hit on all but his final field goal attempt as he took second team reps.

-       Corey Smith was booming his punts. The senior punter had plenty of lows in an up and down junior season, but since the spring he has shown the power he can get behind his leg and rather than shanking them out of bounds, he is improving on his accuracy and knocking them far downfield. Thursday's punts continued this trend.

-       On the other end of the punts, some freshmen joined Tavon Austin in retrieving the kicks. Jordan Thompson, Travares Copeland and Devonte Robinson each took turns lining up side-by-side to catch the balls and Austin, the senior, was there to give some notes to the rookies between reps.

-       Pro football hall of fame running back Eddie George was at practice today. The Heisman Trophy winner and current FOX Sports host took in the drills from the sideline and spent the majority of his time chatting with WVU assistant strength coach Mark Smith.

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