It was another hot and steamy day at Milan Puskar Stadium, as the West Virginia football team began to wind down its 2013 spring season with the next to last practice before Saturday's Gold-Blue Game.
In the 30 minute practice session open to the media, the Mountaineers continued to place a large emphasis on special teams work, with the specialists taking up a bulk of the time.
As always, the practice opened up with the team conjugating at midfield for stretching. During this period the three quarterbacks - Ford Childress, Paul Millard and Chavas Rawlins - worked with Coach Shannon Dawson on a variety of drills testing both the QB's quick release abilities and throwing on the run.
Staying with the status quo of spring practice, no one quarterback received more reps than the other through the early-practice drills or later in more structured passing sessions.
Following the brief stretch, the team gathered in the south end zone for the usual field goal practice. With Coach Dana Holgorsen and his entourage watching intently, Josh Lambert booted kicks from various points at the field, connecting on all but one attempt (a 50+ kick that fell short).
Special teams remained front and center following a five minute kicking display, with Coach Joe DeForest directing his kickoff units through various situations with full-speed drills. With Vernon Davis, Wendell Smallwood and Jordan Thompson handling the return duties, the coaching staff instructed the speedsters to return on the outside, working with the unit on how to handle this situation from a coverage and tackling standpoint.
The focus then turned to recognizing and defending a pooch kick, having players on the second level handle the return duties, including receiver Kevin White.
During this extended special team session, the offensive and defensive lines found themselves in opposite end zones, working on various techniques.
Coach Eric Slaughter had his big men working the blocking sled in the north end zone, focusing on gaining leverage against their opposition, pushing up and shedding the block.
Likewise, in the south end zone, Coach Ron Crook appeared to work with his offensive line on maintaining position against defenders when zone blocking. The first year coach found himself in the teaching role more often than we have seen in previous practices, critiquing every minute detail of his player's positioning.
Once the kickoff unit broke the Mountaineers split up into their individual units. Linebackers and defensive backs were split among various stations, with all appearing to focus on tackling, reading the offense pre-snap and fundamentals off the line.
Meanwhile, the offense continued to work on basic routes at half speed in the south end zone.
Vernon Davis continued to work with the wide receivers and once again donned a white offensive jersey as he took reps through the 30-minute session.
Andrew Buie, Dante Campbell and Terrell Chestnut were spotted before practice sporting red, while a newcomer to the list was redshirt sophomore linebacker Isaiah Bruce who took in drills from the sideline with a red shirt.
As WVSports.com reported earlier today, Clayton (Oh.) Northmont defensive end Terry Ramsey was taking in the practice session and was spotted observing the defensive lineman for an extended period of time. Ramsey has good size already, but the frame to develop into an impact lineman once he gets into a college weight room.
A pair of 2013 prospects from Reynoldsville (Oh.) in Tre Rowe and Grant Coleman also were in attendance.
Practice resumes Thursday although there has been no clear indication if any of the portion will be open to the media. The Mountaineers will then conclude practice with the annual Gold-Blue Game 2 p.m. Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium.