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August 10, 2011Wednesday marked the first day in full pads for the Mountaineers, and Head Coach Dana Holgorsen touched on a number of topics after practice No. 5.
Holgorsen once again saw good things out of the running back competition, citing the play of true freshmen Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie and Vernard Roberts.
"Those young guys are pretty good ..." he said. "It's going to be a fun competition to watch, we're far from that thing being over now."
Holgorsen did not rule out the possibility of potentially moving one of the backs to another position down the road in order to see the field, but said that those players were recruited as running backs and receiver is an entirely different animal.
At the wide receiver position Holgorsen discussed the inconsistent play from the group, but highlighted Ryan Nehlen as the one receiver that stood out today, and has been consistent throughout the entire camp.
"He gives it everything he's got, it's the same thing everyday," he said.
Even Tavon Austin has not practiced to his full potential, according to the first-year coach.
"It's about coming everyday and being good everyday," Holgorsen said.
When asked about senior wide receiver Bradley Starks, Holgorsen quickly replied that he was not in the equation right now, and he had only seen him practice "like twice."
Ball security continues to be a focus for the offensive staff, as Holgorsen expressed his displeasure with some of the wide receivers during the open practice session.
"It's a never ending problem. About the time you think all of them have good ball security, you let things go backwards on it and you put the ball on the ground a little bit," he said.
Keeping with the theme of ball security, Holgorsen talked about the difficult balance of getting onto those players that are fumbling, but at the same time praising those defenders that make a play to knock the ball free.
"We yell at the guy that put it on the ground and you quickly congratulate the guy that got it out," he said. "So it's a double edged sword."
On special teams, Tyler Bitancurt had his first kick blocked of the fall camp, and although it wasn't a positive, the headman has seen improvement from the group after a very inconsistent spring. The battle for kicker continues to be up in the air with Bitancurt battling junior transfer Corey Smith for field goal duties.
Another area on special teams that also has seen improvement is the rush provided by the defense.
"We coach the heck out of it on defense now. Yeah we're not happy with (the blocked kick), but over three days we've had one block and one nick. Is that acceptable? No. Is that a tribute to our defense being able to line up pretty good and get after it," Holgorsen said.
Along the offensive line, Holgorsen once again said he did not see improvement from the backups along the front, but did say that the process would not change overnight.
"I told (the team) after practice that you guys got really good coaches and you need to listen to them. Because those guys know how it should look and your job here is to come in and learn from film and get out there and get better everyday," he said.
Former West Virginia Head Coach Don Nehlen was in attendance at practice today, and the headman joked that maybe he should come more often based on the performance of his grandson Ryan Nehlen at receiver during the practice.
Troy Vincent, a former NFL player and current Vice President for Player Development with the league, addressed the team before practice. Holgorsen said it was the highlight of today and that guest speakers should be a norm with the group.
"They get tired of hearing it from me and the position coaches, so we bring in some guys that have some credibility to the point of what they're saying gets through to them a little bit," he said.
Redshirt sophomore Darwin Cook was seen wearing a red jersey, and pedaling the bike, with an apparent lower body injury. On the flip side, Tyler Urban was participating fully after donning a green jersey the past couple practices.
Practice will resume tomorrow at 5:30.
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