Holgorsen Discusses Spring Progress From Wheeling - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Holgorsen Discusses Spring Progress From Wheeling

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Dana Holgorsen took his team's show on the road Saturday with an open practice in Wheeling. It was the first of three scheduled practices that fans can take in prior to the annual Gold Blue Game on April 12.

"The idea originated because spring practice gets redundant," Holgorsen said before the team took the field. "To be able to change things up a little bit is good for our guys. It's got a little bit of a road game feel to it too, being able to go out and practice on the road, in a different environment, ignore the surroundings, and just go out and play ball is really good."

West Virginia opened practice with Oklahoma drills, which tend to provide the most entertainment this time of year as the team works on learning the scheme and developing depth rather than any game planning.

"We will learn about the toughness of some of the guys," said Holgorsen. "We learn new things about each guy individually every time they step out here."

Mountaineers fans will have learned something new about their team, too, even if the product on the field looked very much unlike what they have come to expect from years of watching actual games. The individual work can become monotonous for the players working the drills every day. A change of scenery and a stage on which to showcase their skills was certainly welcome this time of year.

"They like having eyes on them," said Holgorsen. "To be able to get out here in front of fans is good. It means a lot to Mountaineer Nation that we are able to get out here and show that we are working hard to try and put a better product out on the field next year."

One player who is sure to have plenty of eyes on him when fans are able to watch practice is quarterback Skyler Howard. With that position battle being one that will likely continue through fall camp, there is pressure for the junior college transfer to learn the system quickly in order to show that he can be counted on when the season begins.

As with anyone who begins the process in spring, Howard has shown flashes of brilliance along with his missteps through the first few weeks of practice with the Mountaineers.

"Skyler does some things well. He also struggles with some things as well," said Holgorsen. "Naturally he does a great job of extending the play, which was a problem we had last year at the quarterback spot."

The offense as a whole, which was an immense disappointment for Holgorsen a year ago, is coming along as can be expected. The spring is a time for implementation and even though WVU is largely more experienced on that side of the ball, it is still a process that is nowhere near complete.

"Every time we go through practice we are adding something new," said Holgorsen. "Next week we will add something new. I don't think the installation process ever ends. You just have to refine everything."

A major goal for WVU this spring is to determine who its tackles will be. Offensive line is a group that brings back quality and quantity on the interior, but not on the outside. Holgorsen praised both sophomore Adam Pankey and junior Marquis Lucas for the work those two have done in camp to push themselves to the left and right tackle spots, respectively.

Practice had been closed to the media since the first day of camp prior to Saturday, but an attempt to get an overall progress report from the head coach fell flat.

"I can't really compare this week to last week. Trying to compare this week's practice with the week before is difficult," said Holgorsen. "It's refreshing to have a large amount of returning guys. This coaching staff is meshing well and to have experienced guys coming back is a good thing for us."

The Mountaineers will hold another open practice inside Mylan Puskar Stadium on Saturday, March 29 before one final public appearance before the spring game on April 5 in Charleston.

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