MORGANTOWN - No matter which side - Old Gold or Blue emerges victorious in Friday night's Gold/Blue football game, quarterback Coley White can brag about being on the winning team.
White will play quarterback for both sides because of the injury to heir apparent to the starting job, Geno Smith, has been limited by a broken foot during spring drills. The coaches do not want to risk somebody stepping on that healing foot and further damaging what has begun to heal.
"It's going to be a long game," White said following Wednesday's practice. "I have to be focused, but I'm excited. I just want to go out there, have fun and make plays."
This will be White's debut, of sorts. He got into one varsity game last fall for just a few moments as the team's No. 3 quarterback. He was expected to move to wide receiver this spring, but Smith's injury forced to take all of the snaps in contact drills.
"I'm trying not to think about (moving to receiver)," White said. "I have another day at quarterback, so that's what I'm thinking about right now."
Another quarterback, red-shirt walk-on Josh DePasquale suffered a dislocated shoulder during a drill this spring. The Mountaineers will have two highly regarded freshman recruits coming in to compete for the back-up job when practice resumes in August. How those two perform, said offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, will determine if the coaching staff moves White to the new position.
"Coley and I have been helping each other out this spring," Smith said. "Coley has grown tremendously as a quarterback. We'll both be sophomores, so we have a chance to grow together and be the leaders of this team."
Smith was limited to just seven-on-seven passing drills during the past month, but he said the time was well spent.
"I developed a lot," he said. "The more film you watch, the better you get. Once you get on the field, it will all be just instinct. The next step will be to get bigger and faster and stronger."
Coach Bill Stewart, like all Mountaineer fans, already knows what returning stars Noel Devine and Jock Sanders can do. He wants to see how some younger players perform under the spotlight.
"We've seen Jock catch the ball," he said. "Now I want to see the tight ends do it on a consistent basis."
That challenge sets well with tight end Tyler Urban.
"I want to make the best of the opportunities I get," he said. "There's always room for improvement. We've improved a lot this spring, but we still have a lot to do."
Stewart also praised the improvement of fullbacks Ryan Clarke and Parkersburg native Matt Lindamood. But with so many offensive weapons, not to forget Tavon Austin, Will Johnson and a host of young running backs, Stewart finds himself with a dilemma.
"If I don't get Jock and Noel their touches, do they get out of their rhythm?" he said.
Festivities at the annual scrimmage which raises funds for WVU Hospitals kick off at 5:30 p.m. Former Mountaineers will be staging an autograph session, and then they will take to the field for a short alumni game at 7 p.m.. The current varsity will begin their scrimmage around 7:30 p.m.