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August 12, 2013
West Virginia's training camp has hit right around the halfway mark and although some positions are starting to clear up, others remain very much up in the air as the Mountaineers prepare for another week of practice in the march to the regular season.
Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said the Mountaineers completed their 12th practice of the camp Monday morning in a non-padded session, and the focus this week will be to keep moving forward and focusing on those areas that need to improve on all three sides of the ball.
Situational work began last week and two of those days were dedicated to red zone and third down work along with the introduction of tempo and how to defend tempo on the defensive side.
"Puts people in situations to think quickly and they have to be able to react," Holgorsen said.
From a position battle standpoint most of the spots remain up in the air over the final week and Holgorsen said he doesn't anticipate any decisions coming at this time. However, at the offensive center spot redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky has taken the lead over fellow freshman Tony Matteo, while junior college import Stone Underwood has been moved to guard.
The decision to move Underwood is in large part to help out with depth at the guard position, but because of the demands of college football coupled with the added pressure of making calls and snapping the football has proved to be a difficult adjustment for the time being.
"It's hard. He's got a redshirt year, we may use it but we haven't figured that out yet," Holgorsen said.
As WVSports.com reported last week, former linebacker Garrett Hope has been moved to fullback after bouncing around to several spots in the past.
Outside of Hope and Underwood there have been no other position moves of note, outside of linebackers and wide receivers moving to and from the inside or the outside.
At quarterback, the battle continues to rage on to see who will replace Geno Smith under center for the Mountaineers. The decision will be based solely on what the three options, Clint Trickett, Paul Millard and Ford Childress, do in the practice settings and not on their prior experience in games.
"The guy that probably reduces the poor decisions will be the guy that wins the job," Holgorsen said.
Millard has made the best and the worst decisions at the same time, but has taken the most reps, while Childress continues to show improvement after his best individual day since he has been here in the red zone team reps on Saturday making good decisions and throws. Trickett, on the other hand, seemingly gets better with each rep and has carried a presence with him throughout camp.
Holgorsen said there will be a fine line between a gunslinger mentality and being smart with the football, but he doesn't want to handicap any of his three options when they have the football. Running the offense with tempo also will be key to the head coach's decision as he observes each quarterback and their ability to move the offense quickly without mistakes.
"We don't want them to get to the point where they are afraid to make a mistake," he said. "That's not what we do offensively; we point out the bad decisions and tell them what they should do instead."
"The guy that produces and plays the best in practices and the situations we put them in is going to be the guy we go with come game one," he added.
Outside of the quarterback position, one of the most highly contested battles of the camp has come at cornerback, where the Mountaineers have a mixture of experience and talented youth battling it out for the two spots. Right now, there are six corners, Travis Bell, Brodrick Jenkins, Ishmael Banks, Daryl Worley, Avery Williams and Brandon Napoleon that are battling for the spot, but it will ultimately be determined by which ones are ready to step up and take the next step.
Practice continues this evening at 5 p.m. and WVSports.com will be on scene to provide updates and recap.
West Virginia NEWS