By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
April 30, 2010
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The deck was intentionally stacked against the Gold team during tonight’s Gold-Blue Game at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Blues, playing with the No. 1s and most of the key backups, ran away with a 38-0 victory over the Gold Friday night before an announced crowd of 21,029.
Coley White threw three touchdown passes for the Blue Friday night. All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo
Coley White, quarterbacking both teams in a yellow no-contact jersey with Geno Smith on the sidelines, completed 16 of 25 passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns for the Blue. White was 6 of 11 for 27 yards with the Gold, giving the sophomore a final scrimmage stat line of 22 of 36 for 189 yards. Both of White’s interceptions came against the No. 1 defense.
“Coley has done a fantastic job of getting the offense under his belt,” said Coach Bill Stewart. “It was good to see him go out there and play under some pressure with more than 21,000 fans in the stands tonight.”
Stewart said White will still remain an option at quarterback when the full compliment of players will be available this fall.
“I liked the way Coley White stepped up and made plays with our offense,” Stewart said. “He’s been written off and talked off, and he’s probably been told that he’s not going to be the guy. A lot of people said that, but I told him this week that we would move him to slot if he still wishes, but I want to keep your hand in the quarterback position.”
Noel Devine ran 12 times for 73 yards with a 7-yard touchdown run. Shawne Alston also added a 1-yard TD run and finished the scrimmage with 51 yards on eight carries.
White’s touchdown throws were 44 yards to freshman Stedman Bailey, 18 yards to Jock Sanders and 2 yards to Bailey at the end of the scrimmage.
Sanders led all receivers with eight catches for 70 yards. Bailey added three grabs for 52 yards.
The Blue offense finished with 331 yards of offense while the Gold could muster just 47 yards in 27 total plays.
“We started substituting the ones out toward the end,” said Stewart. “We thought we had seen enough of certain players. I was real pleased with that. That’s what today was about.”
Linebacker Anthony Leonard led the Blue with six tackles; redshirt freshman Will Clarke was the top tackler for the Gold with eight stops.
Brandon Hogan and Jorge Wright picked off passes for the Blue.
“Defensively, we didn’t just play base,” said Stewart. “We didn’t go out there and do a three-man front or a base four-man rush. We did a lot of stuff on both sides of the ball. That was good. I wanted to see our defense fly around, knock the ball and create some turnovers.”
Tonight’s scrimmage concludes the spring for the Mountaineers.
Before the game Matt Lindamood, Chris Neild, Don Barclay and Noel Devine were presented the Iron Mountaineer Award by strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph.
There was a tremendous turnout for tonight’s spring game despite some concerns about playing the game on a Friday night. The entire lower level on the press box side of the stadium was full, along with about the first 10 rows of the upper deck between the 20s.
There were two big hits by the Blue on short pass plays. One was made by linebacker Najee Goode, whose hit forced the football to end up in Jorge Wright’s arms for an interception. The other big hit came from safety Darwin Cook, who nailed Eddie Davis on a short pass over the middle.
“We were hitting pretty good,” said Stewart.
Brandon Hogan also picked off a poorly thrown pass by White.
Tavon Austin showed another gear out in the flat when it looked like he was going to be stopped for just a short gainer. Instead, Austin turned on the jets and wound up making a 15-yard gain.
West Virginia will have two powerful 230-plus-pound backs to use this fall to get tough yards in Shawne Alston and Ryan Clarke. Clarke was also the up back on Alston’s 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Corey Smith showed great leg strength on his 38-yard field goal.
West Virginia’s two-minute offense resulted in a Noel Devine 7-yard touchdown run.
White’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Sanders was his best of the night, the quarterback threading the needle between two defenders in the middle of the end zone on the post pattern to Sanders.
White has obviously benefitted from all of the work he has received this spring with Geno Smith being limited. The question becomes, will the coaches now be able to move White to wide receiver in August when true freshmen Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson arrive?
"Until we know the hand we’re dealt in the fall, it will be Smith and the two freshmen. White will stay at quarterback, but he will play slot like (Brad) Starks,” said Stewart.
More than 150 former players returned to campus for tonight’s spring game with many of them taking part in the old-timer’s two-hand touch game before the scrimmage. Defense ruled with the day with four interceptions in a 6-6 tie.
More importantly, it looked like everyone got off the field in one piece.
There was a moment of silence observed for the 29 miners that died in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster earlier this month. The team will wear a 29 emblem on their uniforms this year.