MORGANTOWN - In the grand scheme of things, it probably has little to do with blocking or tackling or any of the technical aspects of football. But after four practices spread over the first eight days of West Virginia's spring drills, Dana Holgorsen has discovered something he really likes.
Call it enthusiasm or morale or any of a number of other things, but so far the Mountaineers seem to have it.
That doesn't come as a surprise to Holgorsen, but it does register as a big positive.
"I had a sense that morale was high,'' Holgorsen said Sunday night after the fourth of his team's 15 spring workouts. "From the eight weeks in the off-season, we were around them the last four weeks quite a bit in meetings and watching the competition and weightlifting and team runs. And you could sense these guys were excited about what was going on.
"Then you add some defensive coaches [four of the five are new] and I sense that these guys are pretty fired up about being here and pretty fired up about playing the game and being eager to learn. I sensed it, but after watching four practices, I've verified it.''
There is, of course, much more to spring drills than just enthusiasm. Sunday was the team's second day in pads and it was far more physical than the first, which also pleased Holgorsen. A defense that is starting almost from scratch as far as schemes go is "being spoon fed,'' he said, but is still showing promise.
For instance, Holgorsen lauded safety Travis Bell for a pair of interceptions during team drills Sunday, but also cautioned that there is a long way to go. He said a portion of Sunday's practice was dedicated to third-down situations and the offense converted roughly half its opportunities.
"From an offensive perspective, that's good,'' Holgorsen said. "From a defensive perspective, it's not so good.''