No Disruption

West Virginia's football weight room renovations have displaced the team from its normal digs since the start of 2013, but Director of Strength and Conditioning Mike Joseph said the temporary relocation hasn't affected the squad's offseason routine.

The repairs and upgrades to the weight room, which cover a good portion of the ground floor of the Puskar Center, involved an almost total reconstruction of the space. Every bit of equipment was moved out and relocated to the Caperton Indoor Facility in early January, and the space was totally gutted, right down to the subsurface. A new, level concrete subfloor was poured, and repairs and upgrades to lighting, mechanical and electrical subsystems commenced. The new weight room will have a level floor throughout, and will also see a net increase in space. Weight stations will be mounted flush to the floor, rather than on platforms that can constitute a tripping or falling hazard, and new equipment and a redesigned layout will maximize utilization and efficiency.

To reach such goals, though, required some disruption. As is his wont, however, Joseph chose to view that as an opportunity rather than as an obstacle.

"It's been a very good transition," he said recently, noting that the Indoor Facility requires plenty of space to perform open field workouts. "We moved up into the indoor facility, and having half weight room half open turf field has been good in terms of accessibility. It's nice to have everything right there. The kids have responded well, but I don't think we have lost anything in terms of efficiency. We'll have even more when we get back to the Puskar Center, but so far it's been good. There have been no issues of lack of training or preparedness. From day one it's been very intense and very demanding. We are getting everything we've asked for from the kids. "

Offseason workouts involve weight and resistance training as well as running and other drills in open space, which prompted Joseph's comment about the efficiency of having the weights temporarily adjacent to the open spaces of the Indoor Facility. Although he jokes about not giving that up ("I really don't want to move," he said with a smile), he is actually looking forward with great anticipation to returning to his home digs.

"There are a lot of things to look forward to," he enumerated. "Being back in your domain is big, and so is having a new weight room that you helped design. Just the newness of it the new layout, the new features. That's all the kids have been talking about – when will we get back in there and when will we get to train there. They have that anticipation."

Joseph also plans to use the return as part of the springboard to change in the program, which he has been a part of.

"With a new year, you want that new attitude, and this really helps," he explained. "Coach Holgorsen has talked about change, so this is a part of it too."

Joseph noted that the renovations are a bit ahead of schedule, and as of now there don't appear to be any obstacles to the team returning to the weight room prior to the start of the season.

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Another challenge that Joseph will being facing shortly is the preparation of newcomers for potential on-field action this fall. Another wave of freshmen is expected to hit WVU's campus in the next week or so, and some of those are potentially going to play this year. While that might seem to signal a different preparation approach in terms of strength and conditioning, Joseph said any such distinction won't be made until the season is near.

"You will still get trained the same way, no matter who you are," he said in describing his thinking to strength and conditioning. "I will never sacrifice a kid's safety or preparedness just to try to get them ready to play earlier. Everyone will be trained very hard and pushed, but we still count every rep and make sure they are prepared as much as possible."

Joseph followed the same plan with the early arrivals from January, and will do so with the summer arrivals as well. If they prove their worth on the practice field in August camp, they'll play, but that decision will be up to the coaches. In the meantime, they'll all get the same treatment until that determination is made.

"You never know who will play until you see them on the field and the coaches get the chance to evaluate them," Joseph noted. "Once August is over and you get the first couple of games in, you can identify who is going to play a lot and who might be redshirted. At that time, their workouts might change to be more developmental and aimed at longer term results, but until then we want to try to prepare everyone the same."


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