Thursday, April 25, 2019

Notebook: WVU’s new leader; training staff’s work does not go unnoticed

A leader emerging?

“I’m anxious to get back and be able to coach him again to see how he leads this group of guys, leads this team as a leader and just to see his play-making ability on the field.”

That was from Safeties coach Matt Caponi on redshirt junior Dravon Askew-Henry. In Caponi’s first year in Morgantown he was without Askew-Henry, and still able to get formidable play out of WVU safeties Jeremy Tyler, Kyzir White, and Jarrod Harper.

“The guys that stepped in last year did a great job, but I heard so much about Dravon when I got here.”

Getting a full off season of work as well as mental reps is what coach Caponi believes will be the difference for the redshirt junior out of Aliquippa, PA.

“I think it’ll be more of a contact thing once we get the pads on and crank it up for the first time and just trusting it. He’s worked his tail off to get to where he is now” Caponi said.

That work ethic on display for the rest of Askew-Henry’s teammates to see may already be paying dividends. Bouncing back from his season ending surgery last year, Coach Caponi credited the work of the strength and conditioning staff for helping Askew-Henry get back on the field.

“Our strength staff and training staff did a great job to get him to where he is now…The timing was perfect. He had a great summer in the weight room, on the field, and hopefully that translates into a good camp.”

Strength and Conditioning staff getting a lot of credit

Askew-Henry is not the only beneficiary of the strength and training staff. As they rehabbed the recovering safety back to health, the WVU trainers worked on creating freakish athletes. Coach Holgorsen was quick to praise Mike Joseph and his strength and conditioning staff after his training camp opening statements.

“Mike Joseph and his staff did an unbelievable job. We have better bodies in better numbers. The strength and conditioning numbers are better than they have ever been; it’s not even close. Our guys look good; they feel good.” Holgorsen said.

And Prime Time said it best “If you look good, you feel good, if you feel good, you play good.”
When players returned for camp, the difference was obvious in some players, specifically redshirt freshman LB Dylan Tonkery.

“He (Tonkery) tested out as an elite player. He doesn’t look anywhere near what he looked like a year ago. He redshirted a year ago, but he looks like a completely different guy.” Holgorsen told reporters.

And to compliment what the training staff has done even more, Holgorsen had some good news.

“David Long (Jr.) and redshirt freshman offensive lineman (Jacob) Buccigrossi are way ahead of schedule. Whether they miss one game to four games, we are going to get them back pretty quick. We’ll have a full roster come Big 12 time.” Holgosen said.

Talk about perfect timing. Getting key players back right before the heart of the schedule. Credit to Joseph one more time.

(Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)