MORGANTOWN - Injuries have taken such a toll on West Virginia's secondary this spring that when the Mountaineers practiced in full gear Wednesday they did so with just three cornerbacks.
Well, injuries and one life lesson.
Brandon Hogan missed his sixth straight practice Wednesday - that's all WVU has undertaken - and has yet to line up even in an individual drill, much less his spot as one of the team's two starters at cornerback.
Last week, he spent all four practice days running the Mountaineer Field stadium steps, the result of coach Bill Stewart's opinion that Hogan didn't do the work he needed to do during winter conditioning.
The past two days Hogan has been off the steps, but out of uniform. He's spent practice time in study hall and is not likely to practice when the Mountaineers resume workouts Friday morning, but Stewart said Wednesday he will probably be on the field when the team scrimmages on Saturday.
"First of all he wasn't in shape. Now I said, 'You've got to get your mind in shape,' '' Stewart said of Hogan's practice absences. "And anybody else I see with low grades, I'm pulling them out.
"He's not being punished. I'm trying to help him.''
Hogan, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior, was one of two starting cornerbacks who missed practice Wednesday. The other returning starter, Keith Tandy, is injured. That left only last year's two freshman recruits, Pat Miller and Brodrick Jenkins, at the position, along with Brantwon Bowser.
The three rotated in and out with both the first and second teams on Wednesday, but Stewart was apparently fine with putting up with that if it means Hogan will get his academic ship in order.
"We have 90 guys with a 2.5 [grade-point average] plus. We have 68 over a 2.75. Forty-three have a 3.0. We have 75 percent [on track to graduate] and a hundred percent of our seniors this year are going to graduate,'' Stewart said. "You think academics aren't important? That's why Hogan was held out.
"He's a good little student. He just fell off a little bit. And I've got a couple more I'm fixing to pull off.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.