Morgantown, W.VA. – While the weather outside may not be quite fall weather, Mountaineer fans around the nation are pulling for their favorite West Virginia sweatshirts and shirts.
Friday, August 6 marks the official day of the 2021 West Virginia football season.
Following the team’s first practice of fall camp, Head Coach Neal Brown met with members of the media in person in what seems like a lifetime after over a year of virtual press conferences.
“Good first day, basically flag football . . . I thought our guys had a lot of energy,” Brown said. “We went spilt squad again today because we found out last year it was a real positive. We get more total reps and it really helps our young guys.”
Brown was quick to point out ahead of the media setting eyes on Saturday’s practice that Mike O’Laughlin, Ja’Corey Hammett and Niam Muhammad are not practicing due to injuries. On a positive injury note, the head coach pointed out that Evan Staley kicked almost nine months from injury “as good of a rehab process [he’s] seen.”
In order to keep the team socially distanced during 2020 camp, the coach had his team start to do split squad practices, a habit that has rolled over to the 2021 season. During the split squads, the coaches were able to see more from the special teams players during their drill work and wound up finding some who would have been on scout early on, live reps instead. experience injuries (4 game redshirt) young guys are getting qual reps logging and more prepared in their four games
On the lingering elephant in the room, Brown touched on COVDI-19 and the still prevalent pandemic stating “It’s still alive and well, unfortunately . . . almost every staff member is vaccinated, a high percentage of our team is vaccinated but not everyone . . . but we don’t have 100p at this point.”
Brown was asked about the team’s energy going from last season’s COVID-19 season to this season which feels much more normal in comparison. While we are not out of the woods yet, Brown commented that there’s a difference in player and staff attitude.
“Last year had cooped up energy, so many things went wrong but there was a joy early on about playing . . . Joy in fall camp,” Brown said. On this season, “The difference in our team this is we’ve got a good mix of veterans and youth. I think that our youth is hungry and our leadership is better . . . now been in the program and have a better grasp.”
Coach Brown and crew are in camp mode from today through August 24, with school starting on the 18th. Once pre-season camp ends, the Mountaineers will shift their focus to preparing for their first road trip of the season; taking on the Maryland Terrapins in College Park, Maryland.
The Mountaineers host the Ladies Huddle women’s event Friday evening before have Fan Day on Saturday, August 7 at Milan Puskar Stadium.