MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen said his team had a spirited practice Tuesday after returning to campus from spring break.
"Coming back from spring break, we had a workout Sunday night and got some of the spring break out of them," he said. "We had a good run on Sunday. We had several of them show us what they had to eat earlier in the day. We got a good lift in and had a very spirited practice. So I'm happy with how it went."
The Mountaineers are halfway through their spring drills, which will conclude on April 21 with the annual Gold-Blue Spring Game at 5:30 p.m.
After a break Wednesday, the team will have practice sessions on Thursday and Sunday this week.
"We need to get better," Holgorsen said. "You know that I am never satisfied with anything. What I'm happy about is that it seems like we're battling back and forth. I had a little concern about that since we have a new defensive scheme and on offense we have nine starters back. That hasn't been the case. The defense has done well."
The players on the defensive side of the ball are enjoying the transition from the former 3-3-5 to the more traditional 3-4 and 4-3 sets.
"It's a lot easier," linebacker Josh Francis said. "It's more of a freestyle and fluent type of play."
"I think because it's a different scheme and due to the way it's applied, people are automatically assuming that we think less," added defensive end Will Clarke. "I guess the responsibility is allowing us to be less thinking and more reactive."
Holgorsen said defensive back Pat Miller broke a bone in his foot and will be out of action until July 1. That will allow several players to gain some key repetitions this spring.
"We're not very deep at corner," Holgorsen said. "You have Broderick Jenkins and you have Avery Williams, who obviously needs work. You have Terrell Chestnut, who obviously needs work. Lawrence Smith is a guy who didn't play last year, but is back. He needs reps. Cecil Level needs reps, but he's a walk-on, so we're down to three scholarship corners. We would rather Pat get the reps, but that happens in football and we'll move on."
Chestnut, the coach said, sat out last season because of a shoulder injury, and Holgorsen said that lack of action has been noticeable.
"He's still not where we want him to be by any stretch of the imagination," Holgorsen said. "He got beat on a couple of post routes today, and then I saw him puffing on an inhaler on the sidelines.
"He's a guy who is still trying to figure out how to play in pads due to not having pads on for a year because he had the shoulder surgery. He's a guy that needs to take advantage of as many reps as he can. If he's puffing on an inhaler, that's not going to be possible.
"He needs to overcome that and get out there and play as much as he can."
Holgorsen also noted that defensive end Derek Bryant has been suspended due to a violation of team rules and will no longer be with the team.