Quick Hits: WVU Spring Football Opener - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: WVU Spring Football Opener

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MORGANTOWN -

The West Virginia University football team opened spring practice on Sunday. This spring is full of question marks at many positions on the team. Gone are likely NFL draft picks Quarterback Geno Smith, Wide Receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey along with Center Joe Madsen.

Who will take over those starting jobs? That question began to get answered in this first practice; however, it likely will not get a final answer until a week or two prior to the season opener.

The team was in helmets and shorts according to NCAA rules. They will not be in pads for the first time until next week.

Junior Paul Millard, Redshirt Freshman Ford Childress and Freshman Chavas Rawlins all began their quest for the starting quarterback job.

Childress' footwork appeared to be improved from last season. All three quarterbacks struggled on this first day with connecting on the deep ball, at least during the 30 minutes of practice that were open to the media. Perhaps that could be blamed on the receivers who were yelled at by Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson for not running their routes as well as they should have.

There are eight running backs on the spring roster. Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison are back to compete for the starting job. Newcomers getting some early attention include junior college transfer Dreamius Smith.

Those running backs worked with their new position coach JaJuan Seider who was just hired to fill that role earlier this week. Seider is a former WVU player and Graduate Assistant who previously held the same job at Marshall.

Dreamius Smith looks the part of a running back who could do some good things, but it is way too early to tell if that will be the case.

Punt and Kickoff returner jobs are up for grabs on special teams. New receivers coach Lonnie Galloway was working with Jordan Thompson, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison on catching punts.

"You boys are making me all kinds of nervous," Galloway shouted after Buie muffed a punt and Garrison nearly dropped his. Galloway called over Defensive Back Vernon Davis to give it a shot and his one opportunity was a bit of an adventure too.

Michael Molinari was doing the punting and his leg appeared to be stronger. He caught some of those punts solidly and drove them approximately 60-65 yards in the air. However, he also had a few that were not so pretty.

Two players are out for the entire spring. They include Wide Receiver Dante Campbell and Defensive Back Terrell Chestnut. Campbell had offseason shoulder surgery and is expected to be back in June or July. Chestnut was injured early in the Pinstripe Bowl and required knee surgery. He is also expected to return in June or July.

Cornerback Avery Williams, Offensive Lineman Pat Eger and Linebackers Jewone Snow and West Tonkery are all beginning spring practice in limited capacity and will avoid contact.

WVU resumes spring practice on Tuesday.

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