The West Virginia football program will hold its annual Gold-Blue Spring Game inside Milan Puskar Stadium Saturday at 1 p.m. After 14 practices, head coach Dana Holgorsen and his team will showcase what they have worked on throughout the spring.
“I am impressed with the guys’ energy. They have been excited about practicing, and it seems like they are having a good time and trying to push their teammates to get better,” Holgorsen said.
Offensively, Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson will give both Paul Millard and Skyler Howard opportunities to run with the first team. Howard likely will get the first offensive series with the ones and from there rotate between the first team and second team with Millard.
Millard had probably the best single practice of either guy this spring when he threw four touchdowns in an open practice two weeks ago. He and Howard have been continuing to work on releasing the ball quickly since spring practice opened up.
“Skyler (Howard) and Paul (Millard) both need to just put the ball in play. Standing back there, they need to have a clock,” Dawson said. “You never want to go backwards. That frustrates me more than anything. Taking a sack when they blitz is one thing, but sitting back there and holding the ball for 10 seconds is another.”
Logan Moore will also see reps at the quarterback spot Saturday.
Next to the quarterback is a group of potential starting running backs. Dreamius Smith, Wendell Smallwood, Rushel Shell, Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie have competed intensely for carries.
“You mix in four or five guys that can play, that’s a baseline for competition. The more competition you have, the better it is going to make everybody,” Dawson said. “If we could get more positions crowded like the running back position, we’ll be doing a good job.”
At receiver, similar faces in Kevin White, Mario Alford and Daikiel Shorts will run with the ones. Up front, WVU will go with Adam Pankey, Quinton Spain, Tyler Orlosky, Mark Glowinski and Marquis Lucas from left to right.
Defensively, all 14 practices have been dedicated to installing new defensivecoordinator Tony Gibson’s scheme. WVU will run versions of the 3-4 and 3-3-5 defense.
The scheme is designed to put West Virginia in better situations against Big 12 offenses.
As far as personnel goes, SPUR K.J. Dillon had the best spring of any WVU defender. The SPUR spot acts as a hybrid linebacker and safety.
“K.J. Dillon has been very disruptive on defense and more disciplined. He’s always been disruptive on defense, but sometimes it was disruptive for himself or me (more) than he has opposing offenses,” Holgorsen said.
“Now he is more disciplined, he’s lining up better. He’s more disciplined and he’s staying on his feet and making more plays on defense, as well.”