MORGANTOWN - Friday's second officiated scrimmage of the spring for the West Virginia University football team was as dreary for the offense as the weather that dampened the practice field.
"It wasn't a very good day for the offense," said receiver Tavon Austin. "We were missing a lot of blocks, missing a lot of assignments. A lot of plays were called back (because of penalties). The next time we come out, we need to do better."
Fullback Matt Lindamood agreed, though he added that those mental mistakes were not created by a lack of effort.
The Inter-Mountain Photo by John Wickline
West Virginia University wide receiver Ivan McCartney (5) tries to stretch the football into the end zone during drills in spring football practice.
"It was frustrating," he said. "We played hard, physical football like Mountaineers should. We just weren't focused. The effort was there, but we just didn't mesh."
Coach Bill Stewart said he could accept the penalties, such as holding and pass interference because they are mistakes of aggression. But he admits to being aggravated by the mental penalties of lining up offsides or a receiver not having his feet set at the line of scrimmage.
"We brought our pads, and there was some great, sharp, crisp hitting," Stewart said. "I was really pleased with the way the pads were banging. But I do not like penalties."
Stewart also expressed concerns over the inconsistencies in the team's field goal tries of late. Several have been blocked, some because of missed assignments at the line and others because of poor timing. A few field goals failed to find their way between the goal posts.
"We have to pay attention to the details," Stewart said. "The field goal (kicking) has got get better."
Stewart praised the work of receivers Tyler Urban and Ryan Nehlen, saying they made some nice catches during the scrimmage. He said he also liked the way Vernard Roberts and Trey Johnson have been running the ball in the absence of Shawne Alston, who is battling a neck injury.
WVU will have the Easter weekend off, and it will return to the practice field Monday morning. Another workout is scheduled for Wednesday morning, and spring drills will conclude Friday evening with the charity Gold-Blue Game. An old-timers game will start the evening at 7 o'clock. Tickets are $10, and half of the proceeds will go to the WVU Children's Hospital.
In another football matter, the WVU Athletic Department announced that game with Marshall University has been moved to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 4 in Morgantown. The game will be televised by ESPN. WVU's game at Syracuse has been moved to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21. It will be televised either by ESPN or ESPN2.