Although Monday's practice consisted of much of the same for the West Virginia football team, a welcome site graced the practice turf behind the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility - pads.
It was second practice in pads for the Mountaineers this preseason, and although did not don full pads and maintained limited contact, it was just another reminder that football season is in the air.
In the 30-minute session open to the media, the Mountaineers continued to place heavy focus on special teams drills and fundamental work in each individual unit.
Although practice was held on the upper field, the team did not deviate from any normal routine, opening up with the usual conditioning work with the strength staff. While these opening moments are typically rather mundane, on occasion an interesting blurb will come about.
Today, while running through basic conditioning drills, a member of the strength staff was heard talking to a couple players, stating that "Tavon isn't here to save you this year." It was just another moment in the new era of West Virginia football.
After the brisk stretch, players broke off to work either on special teams or within their individual units. While a bulk of the talent was working on full speed field goal and punting drills (where Josh Lambert and Michael Molinari showed great accuracy within their respective positions) Lonnie Galloway and JaJuan Seider took their wide receivers and running backs to the side for basic fundamental drills.
Within the receiver corps, Galloway proceeded to work with his unit breaking contact off the line. The veteran coach wore a pair of pads on his arms, using them to disrupt his players and force a breakaway. While the drill was a simple fundamental workout, Coach Galloway was very particular with technique, scolding certain players for a lackluster effort during the action.
On the opposite side of the field, Coach Seider worked with his running back corps on stutter-stepping at the line before breaking away from defenders. At the onset of the drill, Coach Seider appeared to feel the old playing itch and hopped into the drill, going one-on-one with several of his players. The former Mountaineer running back did not appear to have lost much of a step in recent years, even jokingly talking a little trash at times to the players when he took his place in the drill.
After the fun ended with Seider, the running backs went one-on-one with each other in the drill, with a strong performance apparent from all who participated.
Quarterbacks worked on the opposite side of the field and once again worked on their footwork and accuracy. For the second time in as many days, neither option particularly stood out although each of them were able to connect on some nice throws on the run. But this one is a long ways from being decided.
Offensive line coach Ron Crook had his unit focusing on basic footwork. For the offensive line the first twenty minutes practice was spent watering down each step. Crook had his group practicing different sets of their first three steps for a number of different plays. The drill was able to for the line to work on some of the new run steps Crook implemented throughout the spring and the first few days of camp.
Also about the offensive line, the group would drill in the first team, second team and then third team order just as Head Coach Dana Holgorsen described this morning in his presser. From left to right, Quinton Spain, Marquis Lucas, Tyler Orlosky, Mark Glowinski and Curtis Feigt repped with the first team.
Following the individual work, offensive players gathered on the field for basic passing drills. Coaches worked with two units, consisting of two "quarterbacks" and a group of receivers and running backs. "Quarterbacks" in parentheses because Coach Shannon Dawson worked as the fourth quarterback opposite of Clint Trickett in their drill.
An entertaining moment occurred with Dawson, throwing to receivers on the flat, tossed a quick errant pass that connected with Cody Clay's midsection. Players and coaches both got a good laugh out of the moment while Clay stood to the side shaking off the hit.
While the offense worked on the field, the defense worked within each individual unit on the sideline. Coach Keith Patterson had his linebackers on the north end of the field working on backpedaling and picking up streaking receivers. Throughout the drill, the coach continued to preach physicality while being pleased with the overall performance.
"Be more physical," Patterson said. "Don't worry about hitting them. You have $2000 work of equipment of your *****."
Another observation from today's workouts was that Ricky Rumph was working with safeties coach, Tony Gibson. In Rumph's freshman year, he primarily was used as a corner but it looks like Rumph, has added more weight, and with WVU being a little thin at safety, it makes sense for Rumph to slide over at least for the time being. No word, if this will be a permanent move.
Travis Bell on the other hand continued to work out at cornerback, while Terrell Chestnut looked to be full go after off-season knee surgery.
On the injury front, true freshman wide receiver Shelton Gibson shed the red jersey he had worn during the first session open to the media and donned the green or limited top. He was still sporting the brace, but looked fluid in his movements and showed some of the explosiveness that had surrounded his signing with the Mountaineers.
Adam Pankey, a freshman offensive tackle, was still seen sporting the red after knee surgery and a new face to the list was sophomore cornerback Nana Kyeremeh.
All three of the unaccounted scholarship players remained absent from practice, with true freshmen linebacker Darrien Howard and safety Isaac McDonald awaiting clearinghouse issues and junior college linebacker d'Vante Henry out with personal issues.
Next practice that will be open to the media will be Thursday, although the Mountaineers will practice both Tuesday and Wednesday.