Mountaineers Compete in First Day of Pads - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers Compete in First Day of Pads

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia decided to push back its third day of spring practice due to all of activities going on surrounding the team's pro day on Thursday and the wait was worth it.

Friday was the first day in full pads for the Mountaineers and they were popping (take a look at the drill above between linebackers and running backs). A few brief notes from the day that was (or the 30 minutes that were) at Milan Puskar Stadium:

-       The highlight of the day was when groups of running backs took on linebackers in a pass protection and pass rush drill, while the receivers and defensive backs went at it one-on-one just across the field.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen spent most of his time with the receivers drill and he hid none of his displeasure with the product he saw on the field. His language was too colorful for this post, but suffice it to say, there were some receivers who were told exactly how poorly they performed.

Redshirt freshman Will Johnson took a lot of the heat for his failure to block the opposition, as he frequently allowed the DB past him for a shot on the receiver with the ball.

Sophomore receiver Jordan Thompson nearly always broke free of the pressure and ran to the end zone, where some of the other receivers were tackled behind the line of scrimmage or just beyond it. Depending on the rep, some of Thompson success was of his own doing or with the help of his blockers.

Wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway and cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell were very vocal along with Holgorsen as they coached up their position to get the better of the opponent.

If the tone and substance of Holgorsen's remarks to the receivers is any indication, though, it's Mitchell's group that had the better showing.

-       The defense held the upper hand when the linebackers and running backs faced off, as well. Nearly every time the two lined up across from each other, the linebacker made it to the quarterback dummy that was set up in the back field.

This sort of drill seems built for the defender since the target never moves and there's no telling if the fake quarterback may have already gotten rid of the ball, but still, the blockers typically either whiffed or were pushed back into the dummy throughout the 10-minute battle.

In this drill, perhaps the best fight was between sophomore linebacker Garrett Hope and running back transfer Dreamius Smith, each of whom possess one of the bigger bodies on the field and clashed well when they met across the line of scrimmage.

Both running backs coach JaJuan Seider and linebackers coach Keith Patterson did more subtle teaching than what Holgorsen and the others displayed in the WR/DB drill.

-       Josh Lambert took all of the field goal reps to begin practice and connected on five of his six attempts. The lone miss came on a short kick from the right hash that stayed right, but he followed that with four-straight to close out the period.

-       The other special teams unit we were privy to on this day was kickoff return. Coaches split up their duties in working with various levels of the return team before putting the whole thing together for a few reps at the end. Junior running back Andrew Buie and Jordan Thompson were the first team return men with Vernon Davis and Wendell Smallwood backing them up. Thompson sprung free on a few returns, but when up against a scout team kickoff unit, that isn't much of an indication of anything.

 

Tonight's interviews will be with the WVU assistant coaches. You can see those in their entirety once the practice ends.

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