MORGANTOWN - Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson didn't see a "lot of good" during West Virginia University's first padded football practice, but he said he really wasn't expecting much.
"It's was pretty sporadic out there," he said. "I think when putting the pads on, you forget about certain things. I think you can't really go into the first day of practice with a very high level of expectations. We could have been more physical, but it's also the first day in pads."
Dawson said those expectations vary from player to player. For those who have been around the program for a while, the bar is set a little higher than for those new to the program.
"Guys like Jordan (Thompson) and Connor (Arlia) who have been around here, they line up and play. It's instinctive," Dawson said. "Some the new guys we have injected into practice haven't had a chance to 'rep' yet. You see them at the line of scrimmage, and you can see their wheels turning. Their natural ability hasn't taken over yet. You can't really make a blanket statement on all of the players."
The Mountaineers finished their first week of spring practice, and they will return to the field on Tuesday. The competition for playing time in the fall is expected to increase as the spring wears on, especially at quarterback where two-year backup Paul Millard is battling red-shirt freshman Ford Childress to replace Geno Smith.
"I think both of these guys are approaching practice differently," Dawson said. "They are both battling for the job, so they are getting 50-50 reps. There's no clear-cut quarterback. That's true with a lot of positions. We have a lot of competition, which is a good thing."
That competition is taking away the usual drudgery of spring practice, he said.
"I think it's fun," Dawson said. "To me, it's fun. It rejuvenates you. The kids are having a good time. They go out to practice with a smile on their face."