WVU Gameday Blog

One might call it a relaxed practice atmosphere

Off to practice here soon, and well get a look at stretching and Oklahoma drills and special teams, oh my!

Then again, special teams is no small matter at WVU. The situation with the numbers on the roster and the wealth of veterans on offense and defense does not pass by special teams. The impact might be the best there because of the way the Mountaineers limit participation.

Put simply, Joe DeForest is loaded, loaded to the point he has the entire two-deep back on the punt team that led the Big 12 in net punting a year ago. He said he put together a three-deep for the various units for practice and had a hard time because it could have been a four-deep.

These are odd and useful scenarios and it stands to benefit the Mountaineers because they were, as DeForest said, “awful” on returns last season. But with so much continuity, with so many people who now know what the heck they’re doing, it ought to improve, especially with returners who aren’t doing it for the first time.

“I don’t want to put it all on them,” DeForest said. “Our return game, everywhere I’ve been, has been good. We’ve just got to plug away with what we’re doing. The guy with the ball in his hand is critical, but don’t forget the guys who had the ball in their hands last season were (first-year players). There’s something to be said about experience.

“It’s just like a running back. You get a feel for where the seams are going to be and where the holes are going to be. Kickoff return is no different. They’ll be better and the 10 guys in front of them will be better doing their jobs holding their guys up for the return.”