WVU practiced in pads at Milan Puskar Stadium Saturday for the first time this summer. 

The Mountaineers practiced in the rain, and while they didn’t tackle, head coach Neal Brown said they simulated several different scenarios, including red zone and two-minute drills. 

During that practice, several players stood out to Brown, and he highlighted some of the top performers afterward: 


Alec Sinkfield

Brown said Sinkfield has handled the layoff period better than most, and he’s seeing a payoff from that through the first week in camp. 

The redshirt junior running back added five pounds this offseason — up to 193 according to an official roster update from WVU — and Brown hopes he’ll continue to improve in one specific area. 

“One of the things we’ve really talked about him improving was making guys [miss in space], and I thought he had a couple dynamic runs [Saturday], and he’s a guy that I’m excited about his progress. I really am,” Brown said.

Sam James 

As a redshirt freshman, James gave fans a taste of what he could accomplish as a Mountaineer. Through one week of the preseason, Brown said the wide receiver continues to display “big play potential.” 

“He’s a guy that we’re counting on,” Brown said. “That’s the expectation for him.”

Chase Behrndt 

According to Brown, Behrndt is having the best fall camp of any offensive lineman on the roster. 

“He’s playing the game at a really high effort level right now, and that’s contagious,” Brown said. 

Behrndt, a redshirt senior, started 10 games for WVU in 2019, splitting time at guard and center. 

Mike Brown 

Last season, Brown was an occasional starter for West Virginia. As a redshirt senior, the Mountaineers will need him to contribute more, and the indication through one week of practice is that he’s up to the task. 

Said the head coach: “We need him to be more consistent, and hopefully as he goes into his senior year, he will.”

Parker Moorer 

Brown said the redshirt freshman also had a strong showing during Saturday’s padded practice. Moorer is an offensive lineman that “we need to step up and be a contributor for us,” according to Brown.


Darius Stills

No surprise here: Brown has been impressed by the work of the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year. 

Stills is one of the most talented and accomplished returning players for WVU this season, and expectations will remain high for him during his senior campaign. 

“Our expectation is for him to be one of the best defensive linemen in the Big 12,” Brown said. 

Tykee Smith

Smith is one of a few players in West Virginia’s secondary that has grabbed the attention of the coaching staff in early practices. Brown said Saturday that Smith continues to show potential to be a “big time player in our league.” 

Dreshun Miller

The redshirt junior cornerback missed all of last season with an injury, but in Saturday’s padded practice, Brown said he has made an impact in pass coverage and run stop. 

Scottie Young 

The Arizona transfer “really made some nice plays” during Saturday’s practice, according to Brown. 

Young, a senior safety, enrolled at WVU earlier this month and will need an NCAA waiver to become eligible to play for the Mountaineers this fall.