Notes from West Virginia's first practice

It took West Virginia seemingly forever to hit the practice field this spring, so how did the Mountaineers look on Tuesday night?

Rusty and disjointed, according to the Charleston Gazette's Dave Hickman. That's largely because the Mountaineers aren't playing with a full cast.

Geno Smith, of course, is limited because of his foot injury. Defensive lineman Scooter Berry, coming back from shoulder surgery, likely won't do much except some work on his own. Starting cornerback Brandon Hogan and fullback/tailback Ryan Clarke ran the stadium steps Tuesday as punishment. Starting safety Sidney Glover will miss most Tuesday practices because of a class conflict.

Glover should be fine. But it's a little disconcerting that Hogan, who's coming off a disappointing year, and Clarke, who was in the doghouse his true freshman year, are not meeting expectations so far. As Hickman says:

No wonder at the end of the first of 15 spring practices Stewart preferred to talk in generalities. Specific bright spots, after all, were hard to find.

"But we're going to have a good spring, I assure you of that,'' Stewart said. "You always have issues.''

Smith is wearing the non-contact jersey, of course, but he is able to go through pass skeleton drills. He broke his left foot in January.

"It was a sharp pain," he told reporters. "I immediately thought it was a sprain. A lot of doubt went through my mind, but the next day I got back on my grind and started working again and I am here now.

"I want to do as much in spring practice as they want me to do. I will do what my team needs me to do and much as the trainers say I can do."

Meanwhile, Smith's status makes this spring very intriguing for Coley White, Bob Hertzel writes in the Times West Virginian. Stewart praised the way White threw the ball Tuesday night, but White was hoping to move to wide receiver this spring in order to get more playing time.

Perhaps circumstances will thrust him into a starring role, as they did with his older brother, Pat. Hertzel writes:

White isn’t looking at it as retarding his transition to wide receiver. He believes he knows the position as well as he can because the quarterback must know all the positions, and there’s always the idea that maybe fate has intervened here in some way.

“I may have a good spring,” he said. “You never know.”