Countdown To WVU Opener Is Underway

MORGANTOWN ­­– West Virginia doesn’t take on SEC member Tennessee for another 13 days.

But, that doesn’t mean that coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff haven’t been busy getting the Mountaineers ready for the 3:30 p.m. showdown with the Volunteers inside Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Sept. 1.

“The scouting report is done,” Holgorsen during last Sunday’s press conference. “It’s been done for about a month. There’s a book on my desk — I haven’t looked at it yet – there’s an offensive book on my desk that thick (hands 10 inches apart) and a defensive book on my desk that thick and a special teams’ book on my desk that thick of as much information as they’ve been able to gather. It’s going to be valuable on Sundays after a game.

“The first game, we get two weeks.

“We prepare for our opponent two weeks before the first game, which is going to be a week from (Monday). So, when we come in a week from tomorrow, it’s going to be an off day, and I’m going to open that book, and we’re going to start diving into it. It’s going to save coaches a lot of time; there’s going to be information in there that we probably wouldn’t be able to get if we didn’t have somebody that was constantly doing it all summer and throughout camp as well.”

The biggest problem facing the coaching staff, however, is that the 2018 edition of the University of Tennessee is being led by a new head coach and a new coaching staff.

“Jeremy (Pruitt) is a good coach, and what good coaches do is they take a little of both,” Holgorsen said when asked if Pruitt would install his own system or modify it to work for those players that returned from the Vols’ 2017 team.

“They take what they believe in, and they implement it, and then they take what they have, and they merge the two of them. So, how much is going to be 100 percent what they do and 100 percent of what they need to fit to the players they have, I don’t know yet. We’ll do our best to try to figure that out.”

Of course, this year’s opener is no different from a year ago when Holgorsen and his staff were pitted against a Virginia Tech squad that was under the leadership of a new head coach – Justin Fuente.

“It always is,” Holgorsen said. “Even last year, we had a pretty good idea of what Bud Foster was going to do and what (Justin) Fuente was going to do. There’s still some new stuff mixed in with it that you have to figure out. That’s the first game anyway.”

In other news from Holgorsen’s final Sunday meeting with the press the coach announced two more players who will miss the upcoming season.

“Two things, too. Injuries — there are two I want to tell you about. The injury thing, I told you I’d tell you if they’re out-out-out. (Freshman wide receiver) Dillon Spalding had surgery on his ankle, he’s out for the year. (Freshman tight end/fullback) Mike O’Laughlin had surgery on his knee, so he’s out for the year as well. Those two guys, we didn’t know what we were getting with them. They are good kids, they’ll be back here probably in two days. They went home and had surgery, and they’ll be back in two days and roll into school. Other than that, we’re in pretty good shape.”

The duo joins senior Quondarius Qualls and St. Clairsville native Brendan Ferns on the sidelines for the Mountaineers. The two linebackers, however, are expected to be released to play in late October or early November.


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