'Greatest spring player of all times'
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Apparently in his newfound commitment to learning about and passing along to his players much of the history of West Virginia football, coach Dana Holgorsen has yet to come across the name of Shawn Terry.
That's an understandable oversight, of course. While Terry would eventually finish his career just over a decade ago with four kickoff return touchdowns, it was his play in scrimmage games that was so contradictory to his real contributions.
In one spring game in 2000, Terry caught four passes for 97 yards. In a junior varsity game in Charleston a couple of years before that, he caught six passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns. But in his best actual season as a receiver his total yards gained amounted to 10 fewer than in that one JV game.
The thought of Terry came up Saturday, though, because Jordan Thompson had just a monster of an afternoon in West Virginia's Gold-Blue scrimmage. In front of a rather disappointing crowd of 8,000 at Mountaineer Field and in a game the defense would win 41-33, Thompson caught six passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
Impressive? Well, not to Holgorsen.
"He did [the same thing] last spring, too,'' Holgorsen said. "He will go down in the history books as the greatest spring game player of all times.''
In many ways, Thompson's performance was pretty much a microcosm of everything that happened in Saturday's conclusion to WVU's spring drills. That is to say what those 8,000 and a state television audience saw is not necessarily what they will get in September.
But neither was impressive enough to even begin thinking about earning the job as Geno Smith's replacement. In fact, quite the opposite, given that they combined to be sacked six times.
"To spend five or six seconds in the pocket and give up a sack [without getting rid of the ball], that can't happen,'' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said. "If they can't do better than that, neither one of them is going to play.''
New defensive coordinator Keith Patterson wasn't even willing to express much of an opinion on his unit's performance.
"It's like a practice,'' he said. "I never like to comment before I watch the video.''
"We'll have guys who will make plays,'' Holgorsen said. "They just might not be here yet.''
While one of them might be Thompson, no one is ready yet to anoint him a playmaker until he does it when it counts. A year ago he caught eight passes for 66 yards and a score in the spring game and then averaged one reception for 6.5 yards per game during the season.
"I'm not talking about Jordan,'' Dawson said. "If I talk about him he's going to go thinking he's got it figured out like he always does. I wish everybody would not talk about him and just let him be.
"He had a good day, I'll give him that. He needs to have some good days on big days before we start talking about him.''
Holgorsen, who refused to allow the media access to Thompson (as well as White, Dreamius Smith and several others following Saturday's game) concurred.
"Until he plays like that in a game, we're going to call it like it is,'' Holgorsen said. "I haven't seen him play like that in a game yet. Until he does that in a game, we're not going to talk about it.''
"We just made the switch two days ago,'' said Holgorsen, who also scratched Bell from the interview list after the game. "He's not a 210-pound guy [like a safety]. He's 178, 180 pounds and he has great conditioning and runs fast. We'll continue to look at it.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.
Offensive scoring summary:
Defensive scoring summary: