While the 30 minutes that was open to the media does not offer much to see and analyze, there were plenty of tidbits to take away from the first day of practice.
There were two Mountaineers in red jerseys. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Adam Pankey was sidelined with a knee injury and incoming freshman Shelton Gibson was extremely limited and in red on the first day, but did catch a few passes on the sideline before the team began drills.
The Blue & Gold News staff saw all of the expected newcomers at practice with the exceptions of Darrien Howard, Isaac McDonald and d’Vante Henry.
In the kicking game, Josh Lambert was clearly the most impressive on the first day. The redshirt freshman from Garland, Texas, did not miss a field goal during the open period. New punter Nick O’Toole also impressed with a number of good punts.
A number of talented offensive skill players were back receiving kicks and punts. Junior college transfers Mario Alford, a junior, and sophomore Ronald Carswell, along with sophomore Jordan Thompson, redshirt freshman Vernon Davis and freshman Jackie Marcellus all took turns working with wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway on returning kicks.
The much-anticipated quarterback battle between Clint Trickett, Paul Millard and Ford Childress started with some friendly competition between the three signal callers. The three played a knockout game where each would take a turn trying to throw the ball into one of the squares in a net about 15 yards away. If one made the throw, the next players had to make it in the same square.
Running backs coach JaJuan Seider worked with his talented stable of backs in a wide variety of drills that including ball security drills and running through contact.
On the defensive side of the ball, newly appointed defensive coordinator Keith Patterson and the rest of the staff were extremely spirited and emphasized getting off the field as quickly as possible. Most of the players were quick to play with similar enthusiasm throughout their drills – and the ones that didn’t were quick to get an earful from coaches.
Practice will be open to the media again on Monday at 5 p.m.