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April 2, 2013
After a one week layoff for spring break, the West Virginia football team returned to the football field under clear skies Tuesday, as the Mountaineers commenced with their sixth practice of the short spring season.
In the 30 minute open media session, the Mountaineers focused heavily on special teams work and fundamental drills, with a little excitement thrown in at the end.
The practice opened up with the offense and defense working on routes through skeleton drills in the south end zone. With the entire team operating without pads, quarterbacks and running backs would exchange reps, placing emphasis on the run game. The drill appeared to place most of the focus on fundamental movements and blocking rather than routes, with only one pass thrown in the short series (a fade route by Ford Childress in the red zone).
Following the drills, the pads went back on for the offense and defense as the team gathered at midfield for pre-practice stretching.
The quarterbacks, in the meantime, found themselves in the south end zone working on ball protection, play action throws and throwing on the run. Coach Shannon Dawson, wearing a pad along his forearm, tried to swat the ball out of the hands of his quarterbacks, as the signal callers dropped back and prepared to throw.
Absent from the quarterback drills was Logan Moore. The walk-on quarterback from Fairmont State was not dressed or seen working out with his unit throughout the practice.
After the early conditioning, the team broke off into special teams work, with kicking drills taking up a bulk of the session. As with most of the spring, kicker Josh Lambert handled all the field goal duties, booting the ball with force and accuracy.
However, the defenders got the better of Lambert today, recording their first block of the spring and forcing holder Michael Molinari to improvise on a botched snap.
Special teams then transitioned into kickoff duties, with the team focusing again on down-field blocking and the fundamentals of the return game. As with the bulk of spring, Jordan Thompson, Andrew Buie, Vernon Davis, Wendell Smallwood, Avery Williams and Brodrick Jenkins handled return duties, as Coach Dana Holgorsen continues to leave the position open for competition.
While a large chunk of the team was scattered among the field for special teams work, both the offensive and defensive lines were with their respective coaches working on individual drills. Coach Ron Crook had his unit focused on double-teaming defenders off the line in today's session, while Coach Eric Slaughter's defensive line placed their emphasis on shedding blocks. Both units appeared to be lively after the week-long break, with players jumping in each other's faces for motivation at various points.
The excitement seen from the lines would be spread among the entire team near the end of practice, as all players gathered along the sidelines for the infamous Oklahoma Drill. The team split into four units, each with a quarterback, ball carrier, lead blocker and defender. There was no shortage of action during the drill, as the entire squad appeared feisty and ready for action.
One such intense confrontation was between receiver Connor Arlia and defender Brandon Napoleon. The two locked up in an aggressive battle that ended in a skirmish between the two players. The fight drew in both the receivers and defensive backs, who worked to back up there teammates on the field, and lasted a good minute before coaches took command and broke up the situation.
But that wasn't the only fight that would break out during the intense Oklahoma drill session, as the battle between the offensive and defensive lineman brought a scuffle between Will Clarke and Mark Glowinski that led to both players having to be separated by the surrounding lineman on both sides.
Receiver Kevin White and defender Karl Joseph also found themselves in an intense battle, resulting in a hard shot to the ground Joseph that sent Coach Lonnie Galloway sprinting towards them with excitement.
Several recruits were in attendance Youngstown Christian School (Oh.) prospects defensive end Tymere Dubose and athlete Darien Townsend, along with Springfield (Oh.) linebacker Davonte James and Marcell Lazard, who was seen talking with Coach Crook and Quinton Spain.
Jewone Snow continued to sport green, while both Dante Campbell and Terrell Chestnut were wearing red during the session. Practice resumes Thursday at 4 p.m. with assistant coaches interviews following.
West Virginia NEWS