Holgorsen, West Virginia Open Camp Today in Morgantown

Tennessee Awaits In Season Opener

MORGANTOWN — With the opening day of camp beginning today, West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen and his assistants will turn their attention to a slate of non-conference matchups which features a showdown with Southeastern Conference member Tennessee, a home encounter with Youngstown State and a road game against the Wolfpack of North Carolina State.

“We’re going to play Power 5 schools,” Holgorsen said during the Big 12 Conference’s annual Media Days. “I know Commissioner Bowlsby sat up here and gave you the stats on the number of Power 5 schools that everybody plays. We are very proud of that. At West Virginia, we play 11 Power 5 schools — N.C. State and Tennessee, along with the nine Big 12 opponents. I wish everybody would do that. It’s not quite fair that we have to play that schedule and then you have schools in other respective conferences that play nine. They play nine Power 5 schools. It’s uneven, but we’re going to keep doing it. It’s fair to our fan base to be able to play local schools that they remember great games in the past. Tennessee, never played them, but they’re our neighbor and we’re going to play that game in Charlotte which is our No. 1 alumni base in the United States.

“So, it’s going to be exciting for everybody. Our players are excited. Our fan base is excited about it. We got Pitt and the “Backyard Brawl” is going to be coming on the schedule. Penn State is going to be coming on the schedule. Maryland, we’re going to play 10 or 11 Power 5 schools every year. I wish the other teams would do that as well. It’s good for the fan base, good for TV. It’s good for everything.”

It may not, however, be good for a Mountaineers team coming off a lackluster 7-6 mark in 2017.

WVU’s coaching staff will conduct eight practices prior to classes beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 15. Fan Day is slated to be held on Sunday, Aug. 19, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility.

“I’m excited,” Holgorsen said prior to spring drills. “We’ve added some important pieces that we want to see how they are going to fit into our system, but the biggest additions we have are the guys who elected to come back for their senior seasons.”

Those guys are quarterback Will Grier, wide receiver David Sills V and left tackle Yodny Cajuste.

“In the spring, a lot of it was efficiency and getting us in the right play, high percentage plays,” Grier said. “Individually, just working on different fundamental things. Doing little things right. Summer is a good time to fine-tune some things before camp gets going. Just a little bit of everything, trying to get better and go forward into camp.”

And, Grier and his teammates will have to hit the ground running as the Mountaineers will have little time to correct mistakes with a Tennessee program looking to start its season with a bang for first year head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

“We got to play Tennessee,” Holgorsen said. “That’s our first game. That’s our focus.”

The Mountaineers return home to take on a Youngstown State team which gave them a tussle the last time the two programs met before heading to Raleigh, N.C., to take on an N.C. State team led by NFL quarterback prospect Ryan Finley.

“It’s a tough three-game schedule,” Holgorsen said. “But, if you want to be in the discussion for a possible playoff berth at the end of the season, then it’s the type of schedule you want to have. Especially if you win all three.”