Coaches excited for competitions this spring
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 02:03
For the first time in two years, spring football has a different feel to it at West Virginia.
A strong senior class that included quarterback Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Joe Madsen left nine spots open offensively for WVU. With that said, the 2013 edition of WVU spring practice will have open competitions at both quarterback and receiver.
"Quarterbacks and receivers are probably a little different story, in that they just haven’t played. That is exciting to me as a coach," said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen.
At quarterback, Paul Millard and Ford Childress will battle even through the end of fall camp, heading into the 2013 season.
Then at receiver position, between the slim playing time that Connor Arlia, KJ Myers, and Jordan Thompson have in addition to early enrollees Kevin White and Daikiel Shorts, everyone has something to prove.
In recent years with experienced players like Smith and Austin, spring has been about getting ready to try and meet expectations. Because of that, sometimes spring ball gets dry because everyone has been through the process.
"I think if you look at our spring last year, after about the fifth or sixth practice guys we’re like, ‘Come on Coach,’" said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.
Dawson even joked about players knowing how many times Tavon Austin would run a reverse during spring practice last year.
"I think it’s exciting for players and the coaches right now; I’m excited to see who steps up," Dawson said. "Not just at quarterback either, every position on offense is open except for probably two."
Players now have an opportunity to prove themselves in the spring. Last year these guys were stuck behind proven stars on the depth chart. This year offensively, everyone has a shot to prove they are worthy of playing time.
"Right now spring means more because you have guys that want it. They go out and no one is above anyone else which means they have to compete," said wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway. "They have to compete, which is a great thing about this spring, as we try to find leaders
and guys that want to compete."
Galloway also alluded to the fact that the competition at receiver will not be about replacing Austin and Bailey, but about finding multiple guys to contribute.
"I’ve stressed to the guys that we have to be a great group as opposed to great individuals," Galloway said. "If you have four, five, six or seven guys that you can put out on the field, then it’ll be a good thing to have, and we can succeed as a group."
The competition at both quarterback and wide receiver begins Sunday at 4:30 p.m as WVU kicks off spring practice.