Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

April 15, 2014

Blue-Gold scrimmage: a mixed bag

MORGANTOWN — There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage last Saturday.

The Gold offense outscored the Blue defense 37-27, with each side getting four significant scoring plays. That, offensively, included touchdowns (four), field goals (three) and extra points (four) by the Gold team!

The Blue unit would have scored points for interceptions (none), fumble recoveries, sacks (one), lost yardage plays, etc.

But to me and undoubtedly to the Mountaineer fans, the most eye-catching of the beautiful afternoon came on the opening kickoff. Mario Alford took the ball and raced rapidly 99 yards for a touchdown.

This 5-foot-8, 174-pound senior from Greenville, Ga., is listed as WVU’s No. 1 wide receiver — not a running back. Ironically, Alford isn’t among the top four pass receivers in the final statistics.        

He certainly exhibited impressive speed on that kickoff return, though, in his special teams role.

Another eye-catching, equally surprising play by a senior in a new position, was the performance of nearby Fairmont native Logan Moore.

Like Alford, he played wide receiver and on some special teams in 2013 as a Mountaineer.

In the spring game, Moore completed 10 of 21 passes for 109 yards and no scores. His longest completion counted 25 yards. Veteran Paul Millard hit on 14 of 19 for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

Moore, 5-11 and 198 pounds, transferred to WVU from Fairmont State in 2012. When he left there, after two years in 2011, he ranked fourth in school history in passing yards (3,546), third in career TDs (31), fourth in total offense (4,324) and fifth in completions (277).

He also was Fairmont Senior’s all-time top passer in school history.

Sophomore Skyler Howard finished 9 of 13 passing for 70 yards and one TD in this scrimmage.

Defensively, no one forced a turnover. But sophomore Justin Arndt led the way with seven tackles. Juniors Nick Kwiatkoski, Isaiah Bruce, Ricky Rumph and Dayron Wilson had five tackles each.

Josh Lambert, a redshirt sophomore kicker from Texas, most certainly was a standout. He made a 53-yard field goal, a rare distance for a Mountaineer. He also kicked three-pointers from 31 and 30 yards.

Could he possibly have a shot at being West Virginia’s top scoring role? He’s pretty consistent.

The three touchdown catches were made by senior Kevin White, sophomore Daikiel Shorts and redshirt freshman Ellijah Wellman.

Obviously, the WVU coaches seem content with the progress made by the players this spring.

“I thought we got done what we needed to get done (Saturday),” said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen. “I thought the tempo was good.

“I thought the first-team defense played excellent. So I started to take a lot of those guys out. And once we started taking those guys out, offensively, we moved the ball a little bit …”

Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson readily admitted that the first team started out slowly. But he added, “We settled in and one of the things you saw is different guys making plays.

“The ball got distributed around pretty good, which is good for us.”

Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said he’s been pleased with the progress he saw in his players all spring. “But we’re not anywhere close to where we need to be …”

Hopefully, senior Clint Trickett, the team’s most experienced quarterback, returns from shoulder surgery in great shape for fall camp in August. He missed all of the spring work.

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MICKEY FURFARI