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April 9, 2011

Spring practice recap: Day 6

West Virginia concluded its sixth practice of the spring Saturday afternoon at Mountaineer Field and the message from both Offensive Coordinator Dana Holgorsen and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel was for the team to learn from their mistakes and to continue to improve.

The intensity level on the field remained the same, with players on both sides of the ball flying around and making plays.

But the coaching staff highlighted that the team is only six practices into the spring, and improvement is a necessity moving forward.

"Another day in the books. It gets to a point where you've got to push through and it's all about getting a bunch of film on tape and learning from what you did right and what you did wrong," Holgorsen said. "Today we got about 50 some team plays and we'll be able to learn from it that's for sure."

Casteel shared similar thoughts on the defensive unit.

"Our goal right now is to evaluate kids and let them create an identity for themselves and find some leaders. Find some guys that can work when they're tired and can come out and not make the same mistakes over and over each day," he said. "That's our focus."

On the offensive side, Geno Smith once again looked comfortable in the new system having a couple of nice throws including a fly pattern to J.D. Woods for a touchdown that was eerily similar to the pass thrown to Ivan McCartney on Friday.

The play also caused a similar reaction with the offensive players celebrating.

"I'm pleased with what his body language is. He bounces around pretty good and the guys look to him and if it's not going great, he's the guy that's going to be able to get them on the right track," Holgorsen said.

Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Tyler Urban all had a number of nice catches during the live drills, including a couple screen passes and a tough catch over the middle from Urban when he had to adjust back to the ball.

"Assessing where we're at with the installation process and what we're having success with and what we're not having success with mainly from a communication standpoint," Holgorsen said. "Continue to teach them what to do and once they figure out what to do, you start honing in on getting them to understand how to get better at it."

Paul Millard also continued to show his skills during live drills with a couple of great throws.

"He's young and he's green, but he doesn't have the game experience Geno has and he doesn't have the confidence Geno has," Holgorsen said. "But he doesn't get frustrated."

At the running back position, Trey Johnson and Daquan Hargrett continued their nice play, with a series of good runs and catches out of the backfield.

"Trey is getting better. He's the one to me that looks like he's shown improvement and Hargrett has been consistent ..." Holgorsen said. "He's been steady and consistent and those two have been doing a good job."

Offensive Line continues to develop, and Coach Bill Bedenbaugh continues to live up to his reputation as an intense coach during one-on-one and individual drills.

"I'm still trying to figure out who they are and who does what well. We've got about 10 bodies we're rotating in and that's going to be a lot longer process to find out who those guys are and where they fit in," Holgorsen said.

On the defensive side, the focus remained on solid tackling and forcing turnovers.

"We want to be able to force more turnovers and that was something in the past we've been able to do," Casteel said.

Bruce Irvin again looked unstoppable coming off the edge, in both individual and live drills. Irvin also was able to rip a ball away from a running back and take it back into the endzone for a touchdown.

"Bruce is making strides. Bruce is a guy that wants to be an every down player and he's going to be an every down player," Casteel said. "And he has a great teacher in Bill Kirelawich so he's going to be fine."

And while the effort was good, it's understandably far from a finished product.

"We're not going to play until September so we have a long ways to go yet before we're ready to play," Casteel said.


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