The fourth spring practice for the Mountaineers marked the first full practice the players donned pads. And after practice, Head Coach Bill Stewart was pleased with the overall physicality and intensity, but wants to see better fundamentals from the Mountaineer players moving forward.
"We're flying around and hitting people but we're not doing the little things well. This is pads now, and I thought again the effort was very good, but you've got to work on the fundamentals," he said. "I see too many guys on the ground and too many guys offensively not finishing."
The coaching staff had a meeting with the team after the practice concluded to help them focus on mastering both fundamentals and technique moving forward.
"The players that comes from self motivation. We had a little discussion about that," Stewart said. "We're looking for self starters and motivators."
Stewart did laud the senior class for their leadership during the practices up to this point.
"Our senior class has been very, very good. I see the Keith Tandys who's really doing a great job, Julian Miller and Bruce Irvin. I mean no one can block him, we haven't blocked him yet," he said. "The leadership in the weightroom, out here running and out here playing has been good."
Practice number four was held inside Mountaineer Field, and the players continued to work on refining the offense and defense with live drills, while also working on special teams.
"We did a lot of hitting. We did our victory drill. We started off with PAT, field goal and I thought that was pretty good," Stewart said. "We did punt and worked on backup tight punt and worked on victory drills, that's like our championship drill with three stations."
Practice will continue on Friday.
"I thought they competed very well and I thought the effort was really good. But the assignments aren't crisp and I don't see us finishing things on offense," he said. "And I don't see us breaking down and having good sharp crisp tackles on defense at this point."
Some quick observations:
Tyler Urban continued to make plays during the live drills, making a number of nice catches over the middle and even catching a screen pass. He's been very impressive up to this point and it appears the coaching staff will get him the ball.
Geno Smith looked comfortable running the system, and dropped in a nice 30 yard pass over the shoulder of Brad Starks down the sideline.
Daquan Hargrett had a couple of nice runs, including a burst up the middle and would have scored a touchdown had play not been whistled dead.
Ivan McCartney also had some nice catches including a five-yard hitch where he broke the tackle and sprinted downfield before play was whistled dead.
Paul Millard also looked comfortable in the system, throwing some nice passes and doing a good job in the pocket.
Bruce Irvin continues to be virtually unstoppable off the edge.