WVU Gold-Blue Thoughts, Observations

West Virginia bandit VanDarius Cowan (left) pushes offensive lineman Brandon Yates (50) back in the pocket

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bits and pieces, notes and nuggets from a watch, and a couple of re-watches, of West Virginia’s Gold-Blue scrimmage and competitions.

Among the defensive players that stood out, Daryl Porter Jr. and L’Trell Bradley had several moments in the spotlight. Porter’s ricochet pick against receiver Sam Brown and another pair of pass breakups showcased his aggressive mindset and ability to get to the ball, while Bradley, a transfer from Susquehanna, had several solo tackles and seemed to always be around the ball. Neither was perfect – Porter had an early pass interference flag and Bradley misjudged a deep ball that Brown caught for a 65-yard score – but both showed potential that could lead to backup roles in the secondary this year.

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WVU didn’t show much with its tight ends on Saturday, not throwing a pass in their direction and using just one or none on most every offensive snap. Don’t worry – that’s not a harbinger of things to come this fall. There was just no need to put those sorts on things on display for this year’s opponents to look at.

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The essence of the quarterback competition was on display for all to see, however. Jarret Doege was mostly efficient, although he did overthrow one receiver crossing the field and tossed another deep ball out of bounds. Still, he was 10 of 14 with a couple of passes that should have been caught.

Garrett Greene was 8 of 16 passing, but had a terrible non-read in which he hit defensive back Naim Muhammad between the numbers on a receiver screen that should have been a pick-six, but was dropped. That has been a bit of his story this spring – a bad throw or pick, but offset by some playmaking scrambles and a few big throws.

Which one is better to have? Until those mistakes get reduced, it’s going to be the more consistent player in Doege.

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It was nice to see Leddie Brown competing in the special teams drills. While the coaches won’t let starters be on more than two special teams, it’s excellent to see team leaders like Brown, Alonzo Addae and Josh Chandler-Semedo working for spots.

One player we’ll likely see on multiple special teams is safety Malachi Ruffin, who compiled the most points in special teams drills and competitions this spring.

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Brown mentioned in the postgame that he has six offensive linemen that are ready to play and that the Mountaineers could win with, and while he didn’t identify them the best estimate from here is that the group includes Zach Frazier, James Gmiter, Doug Nester, Jordan White, Brandon Yates and Parker Moorer.

West Virginia running back Tony Mathis (24) looks for room on a run

Even if all six are, in fact, good enough to win with it the Big 12, that total still makes WVU quite thin up front. The line allowed a great deal of penetration in live action on Saturday and during the spring, and while that might speak to the prowess of the defensive front and linebackers involved in the pass rush, it’s also still a concern.

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Speaking of the defensive line, credit has to be given for its penetration and disruption of numerous plays. While stats in a spring game rarely tell the whole story, the defense was credited with six sacks, with four of those coming from the defensive line and the other two from the bandits. There were also a couple of other tackles for loss, and the pass rush often caused the ball to come out earlier than desired. Even if some of this was due to some issues on the offensive front, the play on the defensive side looked good. In addition to the usual suspects — Dante Stills, Akheem Mesidor, Taijh Alston among them –– Jordan Jefferson and Sean Martin were also showing up nicely, combining for six tackles and three sacks.

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Can we put an end to the thought that Jarret Doege “can’t run”? I’m tired of that lazy trope, and he again showed it’s untrue by taking off for a nice gain on one called pass, then pulling the ball on a read at the goal line for a walk-in score. The key for Doege is making a decisive read under pressure and running it when he has a lane available, or being a bit more mobile in the pocket to avoid a rusher. There’s no doubt he can do it. It just needs to be executed correctly.

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The use of a Steadicam behind the offense in the spring game telecast provided a nice look at the action from the perspective of the quarterback and offered some good shots of the offensive and defensive line battles, but it was overused greatly, and often was the only shot of the action provided. Cutaways to the full field shot were often late or missing, resulting in an inability to assess a number of snaps. That included an entire session of one-on-one competitions which were missed as we got extended looks at the back of a quarterback.

Of course, the coaching staff, wanting to hide everything possible from 2021 opponents, probably liked it.

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Hopefully the teams’ entrance onto the field was not an omen of things to come. Mountaineer Colson Glover’s rifle shot to start the run onto the field was a dud, with only the percussion cap igniting. Then, on the first special teams competition play of the day, wide receiver Randy Fields Jr. suffered an ankle injury that knocked him out of the action.

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Others not participating at all in the game or competitions included Sean Mahone, Jeffery Pooler, Sean Ryan, Jairo Faverus and Charles Finley. Edward Vesterinen also had an apparent ankle injury early on and was held out of further play.

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    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bits and pieces, notes and nuggets from a watch, and a couple of re-watches, of West Virginia’s Gold-Blue scrimmage and competiti
    [See the full post at: WVU Gold-Blue Thoughts, Observations]


    Malachi Ruffin. Sounds like a member of the Temptations


    “The way you do the things you do”


    Quick takeaways on the D-line:

    Mesidor has added even more muscle and looks more than capable to be a DT (I thought he looked too small to be a DT last season, but his offseason conditioning has definitely changed my mind… right now he looks stronger than either Darius or Dante were).

    Jordan Jefferson is looks more lean and athletic than when I last saw him get a good chunk of playing time as a freshman… this should enable him to sub-in for Mesidor more frequently (even in pass-rush situations).

    Sean Martin was manhandled by John Hughes in the West Virginia drill… looks like he still has some growing to do in order to fill out his frame. He will be an adequate DE sub only on third down/passing situations.

    Taijh Alston looks to be in good form after a successful rehab.

    Brayden Dudley looks like a future starter.

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Home Page forums WVU Gold-Blue Thoughts, Observations

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