Defense impresses in first scrimmage

WVU Football

WVU had its first scrimmage in full pads on Saturday and head coach Neal Brown said he saw good and bad.

“The good things is you get a chance to get live work in a game situation with officials. The bad thing is you get a wake up call that you have a lot of work to do, which is to be expected,” Coach Brown said.

Most of the bad the head coach referred to in his post practice press conference was focused on the offense. According to Brown, the first-team defense “soundly” beat the first-team offense. It was the opposite outcome for the second-team units.

It was stated that Friday was the worst outing yet for WVU’s defense. It was the offense that won the day, moving up and down the field.

Those roles were reversed on Saturday as it was the defense that learned from its mistakes and the offense that didn’t answer the call.

“The sloppiness is really attributed to penalties. A lot of them were procedure penalties, which are mental errors. We really struggled to run the ball, had multiple drops. We just didn’t throw it very well, run it very well or protect it very well,” Coach Brown elaborated.

“The second offense did some nice things. Defensively, there’s a lot of freshmen playing with that second unit and we’ve got ways to go there.”

Some positives on offense were the performances of wide receivers Sam James, George Campbell and Sean Ryan. As far as running backs go, redshirt sophomore Alec Sinkfield played the best at the position.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Trey Lowe also impressed with his ability to lead a few scoring drives on Saturday.

“As I group, I didn’t think the quarterbacks performed very well. I’m hesitant to be critical until I watch the tape,” Brown said. “Not as productive as we needed to be. Trey Lowe did some good things. We let him run the ball and he did some nice things in the run game. He hit a long touchdown as well.”

On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Taijh Alston and Darius Stills received praise.

Alston, a redshirt sophomore, had an encouraging performance after what Coach Brown said was his “worst day as a Mountaineer” on Friday.

The improvement of Stills, the junior from Fairmont, has been talked about since day one of fall camp. Stills had four sacks and “decisively” won the battle against redshirt junior center Chase Behrndt on Saturday.

Freshman cornerback Tae Mayo also caught the eye of Coach Brown with a pick-six.

Coach Brown said his takeaway from the scrimmage was this team has a lot of work to, but the good news is it has time to get there.

“What this football team has to correct is our bad has to be way better. If you look at really quality football teams, when they don’t play very well, they are still good enough to be in games and have a chance to win. Right now, our bad is really bad. Now when we are good, we look like a quality football team,” Coach Brown said.

“But we have to make it to where our bad still makes us average, and we are not there yet.”

Coach Brown also confirmed Aussie punter Josh Growden is officially a Mountaineer. The LSU graduate transfer participated in Saturday’s practice.

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