“That’s the highlight of my day,” Holgorsen said. “It is pretty clear cut. He’s really kicking the ball well right now.”
Holgorsen said Bitancurt hasn’t had a kick blocked in over a week. Bitancurt beat out junior Corey Smith, who will be the team’s punter this season, Holgorsen said.
“I told him to quit acting like a kicker and start acting like a punter,” the coach joked. “He hadn’t been punting the ball badly, but hopefully if he focuses on that, he’ll get better.”
The special teams position that has not been earned yet, however, is kickoff. Holgorsen said he doesn’t expect Bitancurt to win it. The first-year head coach said that the team will have a few more players that could win the job that will try out for the team on Monday.
“There’s some guys that are starting to separate themselves the more they play,” the coach said. “But, guys have bad days.”
Holgorsen hasn’t finalized any other key position battles just yet like running back, receiver and right tackle.
However, the coach did say that he has been pleased with most of the depth at the receiver positions.
So far the best battles at that position are Devon Brown vs. Tyler Urban on the inside and Ryan Nehlen and Ivan McCartney on the outside.
All four players will receive time, but Holgorsen has to decide which player will get the start.
Starting defensive tackle Julian Miller is still in a boot and red jersey for a lower leg injury he suffered last week.
Holgorsen said he doesn’t expect Miller to miss any time during the season, though.
“He’s got a lot of experience,” the coach said. “It’s not like we don’t know what he does and what he’s capable of. We’re not going to rush him back.”
Offensive lineman John Bassler is still day-to-day after suffering a concussion and stinger in Monday’s practice.
Senior wide receiver Brad Starks is still being held out of practice with another injury.
The Mountaineers did get back starting safety Darwin Cook. Holgorsen said he noticed Cook making a positive change to the defense.
West Virginia will have a situational scrimmage with officials again on Saturday, and it could finalize some starting positions, Holgorsen said.
The team will scrimmage in Milan Puskar Stadium. Holgorsen and a few players will be available to the media following the scrimmage, which is closed to the media and public. You can check out all of the interviews at BlueGoldNews.com on Saturday afternoon.
After that, West Virginia will continue to practice next week but will begin to start preparing for the team’s season opener against Marshall.
“A lot of people make the mistake of over-killing the first opponent in camp,” Holgorsen said. “It may or may not help you beat that first opponent, but you might be out of whack for the next opponent.”
Holgorsen praised fullback Ryan Clarke for the first time since joining the program. He said that Clarke has made progress over the last few days at practice.
“It’s like the lights came on with him,” Holgorsen added.