MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU football scrimmaged Saturday in a closed setting, and while it answered some questions about how the team responds to full-speed, full-contact game situations, a lot of depth chart related questions remain unanswered.
Head coach Neal Brown offered his takeaways from Saturday’s scrimmage on Monday, and he provided insight into the next week of fall camp.
Here are the biggest points of note from Brown’s availability:
As the season-opener approaches, Brown has less-and-less to say about his team’s injuries, which is a wonderful luxury for a coach to have during fall camp. As a whole, the team is about as healthy as it can get.
Defensive end Sean Martin has been limited with an injury for all of fall camp, but Brown says that he should be able to practice as a full participant sooner rather than later, and there is little concern from the coaches about his long-term status.
Right below Martin on the preseason depth chart is Asani Redwood. According to Brown, Redwood is making “positive gains” in his rehab process after missing spring ball, but he is questionable for the Penn State game. Brown said that there is no use rushing the redshirt freshman back until he is ready given his age and role, though he will battle Taurus Simmons for the second defensive end slot.
Davis Mallinger – who is making the jump from defensive back to wide receiver – is recovering from his surgery from last fall. Brown says he is in the final stages of getting back to playing shape.
An emerging freshman wide receiver
Freshman receiver Rodney Gallagher III is receiving plenty of praise from his coaches, but another freshman receiver was the team’s leading pass catcher in Saturday’s closed scrimmage.
Freshman Traylon Ray – a three-star prospect from Tallahassee – earned his second shoutout from Brown in as many weeks.
“He’s doing some good things and I think he’ll be in the mix for us,” Brown said.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 186-pound receiver was a three-sport athlete in high school. As a junior in high school, he hit .359 as a shortstop during the baseball season, and he averaged 15.1 points per game on the basketball court.
Two spots along line of scrimmage still up for grabs
Outside of quarterback, the position battles for WILL linebacker and right guard are still in full swing.
Redshirt juniors Brandon Yates and Ja’Quay Hubbard are battling for the right guard spot, but both are taking second-team reps at different positions in order to keep whoever loses the battle ready to fill in upon a potential injury. Regardless of who wins, it is likely the “loser” will get meaningful playing time this fall.
As for the open linebacker spot, Trey Lathan, Jairo Feverus and Ben Cutter are still in competition, but Brown noted that Lathan “may have had the best day of anybody out there [on Monday].”
In team drills, he recorded a pick-six and a fourth-down stop in the backfield.
“He can do it,” Brown said. “We just got to get him ready to go fast.”
WVU is set to host walk-on tryouts this weekend, and Brown is looking for a pair of special teamers: a punter and a long-snapper.
“We’re looking for a left-handed punter, anyone that’s enrolled in school and can punt left-footed,” Brown said.