West Virginia Looks To Remain Crisp Through Gold-Blue Game

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia is down to its final pair of practices prior to the Gold-Blue spring game, held at 1 p.m. Saturday, with a handful of goals in mind.

First, the Mountaineers want to maximize their remaining time, getting both as much volume and quality as they can out of the two fully-padded sessions remaining. Second, West Virginia needs to remain healthy heading into the summer conditioning session, where it can further build upon the gains made during the winter workouts. Head coach Dana Holgorsen, above, touched on some of those aspects, as well as noting that the spring game would consist of about 100 plays, with various combinations of first and second team offenses and defenses facing off against their counterparts, just as WVU has done in the past. 

"The two scrimmages we have had have had about 100 each, and the spring game is about the same thing," Holgorsen said. "We will do it like we have done in the past. We won't pick teams or anything like that other goofy stuff some teams do. I like doing what we have been doing with the scrimmages because that is what they are kind of used to. I feel like that's the best way to get more work to close out spring."

Holgorsen reiterated that it remained "way too early to tell" what he truly liked and disliked, especially with the number of different players getting a high number of reps. 

"There's a chance this team could have as much talent as any team since I have been here," Holgorsen said. "I don't think that exclusively wins football games. We still have to develop a lot of continuity in each phase of the game. I don't think you will figure out what the overall chemistry of a team is until somewhere in the neighborhood of mid-September. I am not worried about that now. Just technique and coaching guys. Each time we get out here we get a little bit better at something."

Holgorsen listed the leadership as a key going to the summer session. West Virginia has solid upperclass numbers, but some of which are transfers. Those players will need to acclimate quickly if the Mountaineers are to have their same success as a season ago, especially in the defensive backfield where there are several players attempting to man the pair of starting slots. It's been a pattern of late, as WVU takes increasing numbers of junior college players, which have worked out exceptionally well with the likes of Justin Crawford, Rasul Douglas and others.

"I think it is becoming more popular because guys redshirt and then they play and then they get out. It seems like it is becoming more popular," Holgorsen said. "There's a guy we are trying to bring in and the junior college coaches won't even let him practice in the spring because they know he can get out and he will go somewhere. The junior college coaches are becoming more aware of it. Guys are getting picked off their rosters because everybody needs guys to come in and fill a void. You go through spring and (notice) we are thin at receiver so let's go get one. We've talked a lot about this recruiting thing. I used to panic on signing day when we didn't fill our slots. Now I would rather have four of them left and go through spring and see what we need and then go recruit some junior colleges or grad transfer guys."

Holgorsen also reviewed the hire of running backs coach Tony Dews, and his asset of having coached wideouts before, where Holgorsen sees a similar skill set with receptions out of the backfield, and talked about the left guard-right guard move of Kyle Bosch. 

"(Joe Wickline) does a good job of moving those guys around," Holgorsen said. "Which is different than how we have done it the last four years with having them move positions. It's something that has been important to him."

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