MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Today’s practice was ushered in with a sprinkle of rain, but it didn’t stop the Mountaineer offense and defense from putting on a show. Doege and Greene shared the snaps today, but their games looked totally different.
Doege’s passing successes was paralleled by Greene’s QB sneaks and open field runs. During the post-practice scrimmage, Doege completed a great sideline pass to Isaiah Esdale, while Greene had a rushing touchdown as well as a kick out to Sean Ryan, which resulted in another touchdown for the twos.
Leddie Brown, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, and Winston Wright Jr. were all on fire this morning, securing difficult passes across the middle and at the wings. After catching what Ford-Wheaton estimates to be 110,000 passes in the offseason, the receiving corps has depth, agility, improved proprioception, and chemistry with Doege.
Zach Frazier led the O Line, commanding the offense ahead of Doege and Brown. Flanked by Wright Jr. and Sam Brown, the offense was having a strong day, but it’s worth noting that during the scrimmage, the tackles were having difficulty staying in place. A few plays that quickly turned to false starts were all the quick-twitch O Line needed to live up to head coach Neal Brown’s warning that penalty plays were quickly adding up. It’s an area of their game that, coming off last Saturday’s scrimmage, still needs work.
They went up against stellar nose tackle Akheem Mesidor, who defensive line coach Andrew Jackson told the media yesterday could easily be playing on Sundays in the future. Jackson also noted that the depth of his line is finally where he wants it. Mesidor was surrounded by redshirt junior Taijh Alston and senior Dante Stills.
In terms of a standout this practice, it goes to A’Varius Sparrow. This comes only a handful of days after the position coaches spoke with the media, hoping that the redshirt freshman running back would generally clean up his game. In a special teams drill today, he had taken their advice. He was flying around the field.
“He’s got to continue to improve,” Brown said of Sparrow’s action earlier today. “He’s got great speed. His best days are usually scrimmage days, which I guess is good and bad… Football, we’re a practice sport. You’ve got to earn trust during practice and he’s in the process of earning that trust. He did have a couple nice runs today. He’s got to be more consistent. He’s got breakaway speed. He’s a guy that we would like to come on, because he has the speed element that we don’t have.”
Safety Malachi Ruffin, who just yesterday was offered a full scholarship to play for the Mountaineers, got a hand on the ball in a crucial pass breakup from Doege and knocked it to the ground, eliciting loud cheers from his sideline.
On special teams, Evan Staley was getting reps in a knee brace. In other injury rehabilitation news, tight end Mike O’Laughlin is officially out of his boot and into an air cast on his right ankle.