OK, I'll admit it, I had my doubts when I heard that West Virginia University head football coach Bill Stewart had elected to move the annual Gold/Blue Scrimmage from its traditional noon Saturday start to a Friday night affair.
But, an event that-on a good day-brought in 5,000-8,000 fans witnessed 21,029 make the trek to Morgantown to see the old gold and blue go through its final practice of the spring.
And, what fans were treated to was an entertaining affair, albeit a contest void of much real competition since the third-year head coach elected to play his first string offense and defense against the remainder of the roster.
Is there a Mountaineer fan anywhere in the Mountain State (or outside for that matter) who believes that Coley White will be lining up under center when WVU entertains Coastal Carolina?
That job belongs to sophomore-to-be Geno Smith, if the highly-recruited signal-caller can overcome the rash of injuries that has beset him since his arrival during the summer of 2009.
White might very well be the only quarterback this spring to both win and lose his team's final scrimmage as Patrick's younger brother ran the helm of both offenses, completing 16-of-25 attempts for 162 yards and a trio of six-pointers for the victorious blue squad.
Conversely, the soon-to-be-slot receiver had little success moving the gold offense against the Mountaineers' top defensive players, completing only 6-of-11 attempts for 27 yards and throwing a pair of interceptions to Brandon Hogan and Robert Sands.
The running attack again appears to be in good hands with the return of senior Noel Devine, who carried the ball 12 times for 73 yards and a 7-yard touchdown, and Shawne Alston, Ryan Clarke and Tavon Austin give the team enough of a diversity in the backfield that opposing defenses should have trouble adjusting to all of them in the course of a 60-minute game.
But, as strong as the running attack appears, the receiving corps leaves one to question if WVU will be able to move the ball enough via the airways to open lanes for the speedy Devine to exploit.
Senior Jock Sanders looks to be the best of the bunch. But, Stedman Bailey could become WVU's go-to pass catcher while Will Johnson and Tyler Urban give the Mountaineers a pair of physically tough tight ends who also have the ability to get out and block if, and when, that becomes necessary.
Offensively, the blue unit accumulated more than 300 yards so one would have to believe the line played well. But, the true test to whether the front five has improved or not won't be known until the Mountaineers get into the meat of their 2010 slate of games.
Evaluations become a little more difficult when one looks at the defense as it completely dominated a unit whose most notable weapons were Ricky Kovatch and Chris Snook.
Whether or not it will have the same success in 2010 won't be known for several more months.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org