Holgorsen Has Food on His Mind These Days

West Virginia continues prepping for season opener

MORGANTOWN – West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen has a lot of things on his mind these days as he and his staff prepare the Mountaineers to take on the University of Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

And, the veteran leader of the Mountaineers talked about several of them during Thursday’s press meeting.

The first topic on the former-offensive coordinator’s mind? Food.

“Everybody used to look forward to the watermelon afternoon deal,” Holgorsen said. “Everybody does it; the truck comes by and drops off all these watermelons and stuff like that. It’s one of the special things that happens at camp. Now-a-days, we have that like every day. We have pineapples and watermelon and all that stuff every day, it’s a heck of a deal. We’ve come a long way. It’s really good.

“We hired (Director of Sports Nutrition) Taylor (Lile); she’s our new sports nutrition lady. She’s doing a heck of a job, she’s in the back all the time, she sits in my meetings, she’s at practice. Twenty-four seven, she’s in charge of the food we feed our kids. The new training table in the back is just spectacular. It’s a multi-million-dollar deal, and they did a heck of a job on it. She’s in charge of the menus and everything, and she claims that she picks out fruit better than anybody. I can’t disagree with her; she’s doing a heck of a job.

“We’ve come a long way — we used to not be able to feed them. Now, we can feed them whatever we want.

“It’s a big commitment – and this is all NCAA driven, obviously – but it’s a big commitment from our administration. It’s expensive when you’re feeding 120 growing men. It’s been great.”

Holgorsen’s tone changed from jovial to serious, however, when asked about the team’s depth at center and the NCAA’s new redshirt rule.

“We have three people that can snap it. I think we have five people that can snap it; we don’t have three centers that can play. I don’t know where you (the media) came up with that; I saw somebody write that. Believe it or not, I look at some of the stuff that you all write. We have two. I feel really good about two. (Redshirt junior offensive lineman) Matt (Jones) started 13 games for us last year. (Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Jacob) Buccigrossi, right now, is ahead of him. That doesn’t mean he’s going to start, but right now, he’s running with the first team. He was hurt last year, so he couldn’t play. But we have two; we do have three. (Freshman offensive lineman) Briason Mays is going to be a good player for us, but he’s a freshman, and hopefully he doesn’t play.”

Holgorsen, who is 53-37 overall after his first seven seasons in Morgantown, closed his second meeting of the season with the state’s media talking about linebackers Quondarius Qualls and Brendan Ferns.

“They can be here and get treated and eat. They just can’t be a part of any football activities. They’re not in meetings, they’re not in walkthroughs. They’re not a part of any of that. They’re just rehabbing all day long. Rehabbing, eating, sleeping and all the necessary to get back on the field. That’s Qualls and Ferns. We just never added them.

“We reported to fall camp with 110 guys, and those two guys were not a part of the 110. But they can be here, and they get treated and use the facility and eat. Technically, they’re still in school for a while. They just can’t be a part of football right now. Once school starts, they’ll be in meetings, be a part of walkthroughs. They’re both doing good. They look good. They’re both two kids that have played a lot for us, and they will play this year. At what point? I don’t know. That’s a medical decision.”

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