MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen called Sunday's West Virginia University football practice "pretty fired up," which he said reinforced what he thought during the off-season.
"I had a sense morale was high," he said. "You could sense these guys were excited about what was going on. Guys were pretty fired up about playing. I sensed that, but after watching four practices, I verified it."
He said the goal of each and every player should be to get better with each and every opportunity. He said many of the Mountaineers are doing that.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
West Virginia University running back Ryan Clarke runs through a machine during ball security drills Sunday at spring practice.
"If they are not excited about walking through those doors, you're not going to get a lot out of them," Holgorsen said. "If you were to take a poll of the players, you would find that they are excited about coming in."
The coach said he was pleased with the physical nature of the Mountaineers, who practiced in pads on Sunday.
"I don't care what kind of offense you run, what kind of defense you run," he said. "if you're not physical, you're not going to be very good. I was pleased with the effort these guys were giving."
Holgorsen said sophomore-to-be running back Andrew Buie has shown improvement during the early spring drills.
"Buie is young, and he got worn down early (last season)," Holgorsen said. "He's been working hard. He's playing hard and playing physical."
Holgorsen also noted that the first team of offensive linemen is "looking good," and he praised the leadership of center Joe Madsen for helping bring that about.
"(Jeff) Braun looks twice as good as he looked in camp last year," Holgorsen said. "(Pat) Eger is more confident, and (Quinton) Spain is more confident. It's a lot easier to run the ball, and it's a lot easier to pass the ball."
The Mountaineers will practice Tuesday and Thursday this week, and then will give the players some time off for spring break. After returning, the team will hold nine more practices. Spring drills will end with the annual Gold-Blue Game on April 21.