Quick Hits: Smith Absent from Final Open Practice - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: Smith Absent from Final Open Practice

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MORGANTOWN -

Thursday's practice was the final chance for the media to see any football until Sept. 1. On that day, the Mountaineers will take on the Thundering Herd and the action on the field will count.

On Thursday, it was blue against white and all that was at stake were reps.

It didn't take long to notice that senior quarterback Geno Smith was absent from practice. Head coach Dana Holgorsen said after practice that Smith's grandmother had passed away recently and he went home to Florida to be with family. He will be back on campus in time for Monday's start of class.

And now, other, less important notes.

-       Let's begin with a look at the injury report. In green, Pat Miller took part in all the drills just as he would if he were in blue, but was likely limited in team work later in practice. The red jerseys doing their best Lance Armstrong impression on the stationary bikes consisted of Avery Williams, Matt Moro, Travis Bell, Jewone Snow and freshman offensive lineman Tony Matteo.

-       In individual work, junior cornerback Brodrick Jenkins performed well in leading the group. In one drill, he met the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage and sent him straight to the turf, drawing excitement from his teammates on the sideline.

Overall, Jenkins seemed to be having the most fun on the field, running around and being his normal outgoing self. He has this scream, it's difficult to explain… Like a child running from a nightmare. Or something like that.

-       Freshman Nana Kyeremeh did not have as much luck. He rarely hit the offensive player at all, but when he did, it was with little force or as the player was passing him. DB Coach Daron Roberts was not pleased with the work he saw from his young student and let him know that if he didn't play faster, he wouldn't see the field. By the time the drill ended, Kyeremeh hadn't gotten it right. Still, he apparently leads the position in interceptions by a wide margin, so it's not time for despair.

-       There were a number of scouts in attendance, including former Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles general manager Tom Donahoe, who said he had his eyes on every senior, not any individual player.

-       Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey were returning kicks with the first team return unit and both that duo and Jordan Thompson and Brodrick Jenkins with the twos drew praise from DeForest, who was working closely with all four.

-       The video above is Coach Steve Dunlap working with the star linebackers on tackling techniques.

For much of the day's practice, my camera's microphone was attached to DeForest's collar. We'll have the WVU defensive coordinator mic'd up in a future episode of The Dana Holgorsen Show, which premieres this weekend.

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