West Virginia concluded preseason camp with an officiated scrimmage inside Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Media members were allowed to observe the final hour of the scrimmage from the club area underneath the video board, but were not permitted to tweet or post a live account of the action.
Overall, both offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson saw what they needed to see as they begin preparation for the season opener against second-ranked Alabama two weeks from today in Atlanta.
“The main focus today was trying to figure out who the number twos were,” noted Dawson.
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Select members of the West Virginia University football coaching staff met with the media on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, at the Milan Puskar Center Team Room.
“We wanted to develop some chemistry with the first group and figure out who are twos are. There were a lot of snaps today – a lot of backup guys in there taking reps - so we’ll see who we can trust and who we can’t,” said Dawson.
The ones were able to move the ball between the 20s but bogged down in the red zone. Gibson thought his defense did a good job of flying around and bowing its back when the offense got into the score zone.
“They buckled down in the end and we did some good things,” said Gibson. “It helps when you have guys who can get after the quarterback and you don’t have to blitz all the time and leave the DBs hanging.”
“I’m not sure, but I don’t think (the first group) gave up a touchdown,” Gibson said.
Millard did hook up with K.J. Myers for a touchdown pass with the twos, and then near the end of the scrimmage, he connected with true freshman running back Dontae Thomas-Williams
out in the flat and Thomas-Williams was able to make an athletic play in the open field to score. Despite showing improvement this afternoon, Gibson said the overall tackling is still not where it needs to be right now.
“We’re still missing way too many tackles,” he said. “We had a live situation yesterday and we missed 22 tackles. We really honed in on it this morning and I thought the kids reacted well. I think we only had two or three missed tackles during the whole scrimmage today.”
“Both Travis Bell
and Terrell Chestnut
are battling for that (second corner) spot,” said Gibson. “There are really two spots in the secondary that are kind of unknown right now. We really like how Chestnut is playing and Travis Bell
does some good things. We’ve got guys with experience, but we’ve got to keep Chestnut healthy. That’s our No. 1 thing for him.”
The other secondary spot still open is free safety, where Jeremy Tyler
got all of the first reps today because freshman Dravon Henry
was wearing green (non contact). Those two are in a tight battle for the starting job.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen spent the entire scrimmage on the field positioned behind the offense while artificial noise was piped into the PA system to simulate a game setting.
The Mountaineers will now take what they’ve learned today and begin full prep work for the Crimson Tide.
“We have to hone down our game plan and get in what we do well and the stuff that we’re not getting kind of throw it out and move on to the next thing,” said Gibson. “Right now, we’re going to get a plan for ‘Bama and see how it all works.”
The team has a practice planned for Sunday to go over today’s mistakes and then will have Monday off for the beginning of the fall semester. After that, it’s all Alabama.
“Dana just told the kids we are going to have two game weeks (of prep),” said Gibson. “We end Saturday with a mock game and then repeat it again the following week. That way we have two weeks to run through it and make sure everyone’s on the same page.”