Only this time his name wasn’t Pat.
Coley White, the younger brother of the former WVU standout and current Miami Dolphin quarterback, did his best impression of his older brother, passing for 189 total yards and three touchdowns in the first-ever night spring game in school history.
“I liked the way he moved the offense and I like the way he handled himself in the pocket,” WVU head coach Bill Stewart said. “He moved, shifted and did not run around and panic.”
With projected starting quarterback Geno Smith still recovering from foot surgery, White took every snap for both the Gold and the Blue teams, completing a total of 22-of-36 passes after learning earlier in the week that he may be moved to slot receiver.
“(Coley’s) been written off, talked off and probably been told that he’s not going to be the guy,” Stewart said. “A lot of people said that but Bill Stewart.”
Smith broke a bone in his left foot during conditioning drills in January. He broke a bone in the same foot in an off-the-field accident last summer.
Besides Smith, White is the only other quarterback on scholarship at WVU. The Mountaineers have two incoming freshman recruits, Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson that will also compete at quarterback.
White only found success on the Blue squad, which was comprised of current first-team players on the Mountaineer roster. He went 16-for-25, throwing for 162 yards and all three of his scoring passes as the Blue team won 38-0.
“It comes with practice, just knowing where to go with the ball out there,” White said. “Getting all the reps made me comfortable out there.”
White found redshirt freshman receiver Stedman Bailey on TD tosses of 44 and 2 yards. With wide receivers Logan Heastie and Deon Long planning to transfer, WVU is thin at wide receiver, so Bailey’s emergence could be a pleasant surprise.
“We’ve got to have young people step up like that,” said WVU offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen. “We’ve got good players but we’re one-deep with guys that have played. It was fun to see Stedman (step up) this spring.”
Mullen is in a unique position as the Mountaineers start their third different quarterback in the three years he’s been at WVU. He was also limited in what his offensive units could do because of White being the only quarterback for both sides.
“You just play with the hands you’ve been dealt and do the best you can,” Mullen said.
Playing only the first half, running back Noel Devine looked sharp, rushing for 73 yards and a score. WVU will look to Devine for leadership with all its youth on offense.
“I’m not satisfied. I’m never satisfied,” Devine said. “There’s always room for improvement. I’ve come a long way in my game and as a person also.”
Shawne Alston added 51 yards and a score on the ground for the Blue team, which finished with 169 yards rushing.
The Blue defense stifled the Gold offense, allowing just three first downs and 47 total yards.
Linebacker Anthony Leonard led the Blue team with six total tackles, three for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Brandon Hogan and Jorge Wright each intercepted White while he ran the Gold offense. The Blue defense also caused many jarring hits on WVU receivers that led to incompletions.
“I wanted to see our defense fly around, knock the ball loose and create some turnovers,” Stewart said.
The game began with a moment of silence for the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion on April 5. WVU players wore a 29 sticker on their helmets during the game and will do the same during this season.
“The 2010 season will be dedicated to our 29 fallen brothers,” Stewart said.