Share This Page

WVU offense weathers conditions

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It wasn't the best day for West Virginia to show off its new offense, as the Mountaineers dealt with wind and heavy rains Saturday in their first spring scrimmage.

Despite the conditions, West Virginia's top two quarterbacks, starter Geno Smith and freshman Paul Millard, combined to finish 18 of 31 for 245 yards and one touchdown.

"(The offense's) communication is still getting better, but I think we're picking up more and more as the practices go on," Smith said. "This was the first time we got a chance to put it all together, and I feel like we did a pretty good job."

The offense also had success on the ground. The Mountaineers' skill players finished with 157 yards rushing, led by freshman Vernard Roberts' 57 yards.

Sophomore running back Trey Johnson scored the scrimmage's first touchdown from 1 yard out with the first-team offense. Later, the first-team scored on a 3-yard run by junior running back Shawne Alston.

The lone touchdown pass came from the second team on the scrimmage's last play, when Millard found tight end-turned-slot receiver Tyler Urban in the end zone for a 7-yard score.

"We still have a ton of things to work on — route running, getting to where they want us to be, holding on to the football — there are a ton of little things," said Urban, a former Norwin High School star. "I feel, at this point, we're doing pretty well."

The Mountaineers were without starting receiver Brad Starks, who suffered a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder during Wednesday's practice and had surgery Friday. He will be out 12 weeks. West Virginia also is playing without its starting offensive tackles, Don Barclay and Jeff Braun, and safety Eain Smith, all of whom had offseason surgery.

"I left a happy guy today. Are we sloppy• You bet. Did we make mistakes• You bet. Did we put the ball on the ground• You bet. But we also made some plays," coach Bill Stewart said. "I saw us competing, running and tackling. There's give and take on both sides."

The defense, which is replacing seven starters from last year's unit, struggled at times, but was highlighted by multiple sacks from defensive linemen Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller, a fumble recovery by sophomore cornerback Pat Miller and an interception by sophomore safety Mike Dorsey in the end zone.

"I thought our defense ran to the ball well and tackled well. There were a few missed tackles in the open field, which is very difficult to do," Stewart said. "By and large, we wrapped up really well."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.