Quick Hits: Injuries Mar WVU Practice - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: Injuries Mar WVU Practice


Dana Holgorsen announced on Thursday that the team would be without the services of sophomore cornerback Nana Kyeremeh this season after it was determined that he would have to undergo shoulder surgery. He mentioned other injuries to Dante Campbell and Dreamius Smith, but he left out one newcomer to the injury report. Whether that was by design or not is unclear.

-       Jordan Thompson joined the players in red jerseys Thursday with what appeared to be a left shoulder injury. He could simply have a day-to-day injury that Holgorsen prefers not to talk about or maybe there was another reason why the sophomore receiver was left out of the discussion earlier in the day. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said last week that he was not ready to discuss anything at all with regards to the player they call "Squirt" until he makes some plays on game day. Thompson has had strong springs each of his first two years at WVU and the coaches have yet to make him available for interviews as he remains off limits.

Along with Thompson, Campbell (right shoulder), Kyeremeh, Adam Pankey and another unnamed player sported the red jerseys and didn't participate on Thursday. The unnamed player appeared to be freshman cornerback Carlton Nash, though there's no way to confirm that because the training staff was on the side of the field opposite of where the media was allowed to view practice from.

-       Due to rain, the Mountaineers were forced indoors, which put the players right on top of each other in the 80-yard Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. The defense made good use of the closed quarters in individual drills as they started out with a tackling circuit. Three separate stations took the WVU defenders through drills designed to teach technical aspects of the fundamentals of tackling, including getting in position.

The first, which safety coach Tony Gibson ran, spread out four defenders across the field with one ball carrier opposite them. The ball carrier would run in one direction and the defenders would stay in their lanes to converge on the ball. The next drill, run by cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell, was similar, but with two defenders in a smaller space.

Linebacker Isaiah Bruce discussed these drills, which he called "tracking drills" earlier in the week:

"Say if it's a running back in space, you want to vice the person with two people from each side," said Bruce. "You don't want to overrun or anything, so [Coach Keith Patterson] emphasizes track the inside hip, so just in case he cuts back, someone will be there. The outside person, such as the corner or the safety, will automatically always have outside contain. Can't let anyone outside."

The third drill put the players up against a five-man sled, with defensive line coach Erik Slaughter focusing on getting each defender to tackle through the pads. They would face up, see the target and finish through it with a straight back and hips pushed forward.

-       Both the offense and the defense worked on deep balls toward the end of the 30 minutes open to the media. The three quarterbacks (along with Coach Dawson) took turns tossing deep fades to the receivers before running a variety of routes out of different formations.

Shelton Gibson continues to work back to full health and now, wearing a green jersey, he is showing speed and precise route running, a sign of things to come if he can get over his knee injury. Dustin Garrison remains a real threat catching the ball out of the backfield, which should bode well for him as the running back position continues to look very deep for the Mountaineers.

On defense, the safeties worked on catching the ball at its highest point while Coach Mitchell took the cornerbacks through drills with a receiver designed to make sure the defender kept the ball out of their hands at all costs, not just by way of an interception.

-       Running back Dreamius Smith was classified as day-to-day with a thigh bruise and apparently Thursday was that day as he returned to the field after missing the past three practices. 

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