MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University’s football team wrapped up its seventh spring practice on Saturday. The Mountaineers practiced inside Milan Puskar Stadium, and held an intrasquad scrimmage, as well.

Neal Brown spoke with the media afterward. Here are the biggest takeaways from his time at the microphone.

Practice 7 standouts & scrimmage notes

The early part of Saturday’s practice was focused on special teams. Brown was pleased with how that unit performed overall.

According to the head coach, the defensive line had its best day of the spring. Sean Martin once again stood out to the coaching staff as he continues to “show flashes” of his potential. On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Mountaineers had two starting offensive linemen not participating in practice.

Later on, the Mountaineers held an intrasquad scrimmage. The starters got roughly 35 live reps during that period. The second string was limited somewhat due to quarterback Nicco Marchiol being held out of practice due to illness. Garrett Greene took all of the first-team reps Saturday.

“Once we got into the team section, it was pretty clean,” said Brown. “We had one procedure penalty on the offense. Didn’t have any turnovers.”

Wideout Hudson Clement and running back CJ Donaldson both scored in the scrimmage.

Latest on the wide receivers

Transfer wideout Devin Carter continues to receive praise from the WVU coaching staff. So, too, does Preston Fox who Brown said made “a couple of nice plays in the stadium today.”

Brown noted the improvements of some other wideouts, as well.

  • Cortez Braham (SR): “Cortez is coming along. Not his best day today, but he’s been consistent. … I think he’s going to be one of our most improved players once we get to the fall. I think he’s going to be a guy we can count on.”
  • Jeremiah Aaron (JR): “Needs to continue to come along. He’s got big-play potential, and he’s got to put it together and be an every-down guy.”
  • Hudson Clement (R-FR): “Hudson Clement has had a nice spring to this point.”

Rodney Gallagher III, one of West Virginia’s top-rated commits from the most recent recruiting cycle, was at practice on Saturday. Brown said Gallagher will have opportunities to play and compete once he fully enrolls and is eligible to put on a practice jersey for WVU.

“He’s going to have opportunities. He’s got to gain some weight and get stronger, but in fall camp, you know, he’s going to have some opportunities in the slot to be able to help us,” said Brown.

CJ Donaldson “lifts others around” him

Brown spoke very complimentary of running back CJ Donaldson on Saturday. Donaldson continues to work his way back this spring from the season-ending injury he suffered against TCU last fall.

The head coach stated that if the sophomore tailback can stay healthy and continue to improve, he has “big-time ability.”

While Brown also said Donaldson needs to continue to grow his game, he is still young in terms of Division I playing experience due to the time he missed last season, and the position change he went through after arriving to WVU. The ability, though, continues to jump out every time he’s on the field.”

“When you have someone that’s got elite ability, it lifts the others around you,” said Brown. “The other guys around, they know, like, that kid’s got a chance. So what he does is, he lifts those other guys up.”

Brown also noted Saturday how naturally things come to Donaldson, and how quickly he retains the coaching points being taught to him.