The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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College Sports

April 28, 2010

WVU to look at depth in spring game

MORGANTOWN — For West Virginia coach Bill Stewart, the spring is like being in a laboratory.

Stewart is experimenting, concocting different mixes to see what he can come up with.

The annual Gold and Blue game will be Friday at 7 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium. Tickets are $5 and the gates open at 6 p.m.

It’s not tinkering with players like Noel Devine and Jock Sanders that Stewart is interested in doing.

“I don’t want to come out and just keep handing the ball to seven (Noel Devine) and throwing the ball to nine (Sanders),” Stewart said. “We know what they can do.”

It’s the unknown that Stewart is looking for, a breakthrough before the opening of summer camp in August.

“What we’ll do in the spring game is have the Old Gold on one side and the Blue on the other, and we’ll see those guys touch the ball,” Stewart said. “I want to see the young guys touch the ball.”

But he also wants to see where his depth is on defense.

And for veterans like Chris Neild, that’s fine.

“I think toward the end of spring, the coaches try to get the young guys in there to give them experience,” Neild said. “They are really starting to develop, and they are doing a good job. Once fall comes around, we should be a good defense as long as everyone works hard.”

For guys like running backs like Shawne Alston and  Daquan Hargrett and linebacker Casey Vance, it’s an opportunity to put themselves squarely on the depth chart entering fall.

Alston said just studying the other backs, especially Devine, have helped aid his growth.

“Development is a process that I have to go through,” Alston said. “Just staying here, learning from Noel, watch film and look at how he runs, and that will make me a better runner.”

It also helps running against the WVU defense.

“When you run against the ones and you make a good play, it makes you feel good about yourself,” he said. “But then if you take a play off against the ones, you’ll know it, because if you take a play off from someone like J.T. Thomas, you’re going to know it.”

Vance has also had a great spring.

“He had a pick the other day,” Stewart said. “He is making good plays, and Jeff Casteel and I think he’s absolutely doing a good job.”


The Big East announced its bowl affiliation for 2010:

BCS Bowl – Big East champion; Champs Sports Bowl – Big East vs. ACC; Meineke Car Care Bowl — Big East vs. ACC; New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Big East vs. Big 12; Bowl or AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Big East or SEC vs. C-USA; Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl— Big East vs. C-USA.

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