There has been some criticism of the lack of attendance at this year's game, but I think it is undue and unjust. Granted, the crowd was not what it should be. But we should look at a couple of factors. In my mind, these are facts, not excuses.
1. Most WVU fans travel from distances of over two hours. Anyone who has driven from Charleston on gameday knows that. Personally, I don't think that is a good reason for not going. I do it. But many people just do not get excited to go watch a glorified practice.
2. The athletic department, to use the term loosely, doesn't exactly make this a fan friendly atmosphere.
First of all, they absolutely refuse to provide restrooms in the parking lot for tailgaters. I know someone who has personally called to ask at least three years in a row. It isn't like they don't know people want them.
It doesn't matter if you drink beer, coke, water or tea. Eventually, you have to visit the restroom.
This is made even worse by the fact that an official tailgating event sponsored by the Alumni Associaion was part of Saturday's activities. They had a huge tent over at Tent City.
3. They had the upper deck roped off this year. Obviously they weren't even thinking of a big crowd. Everyone had to sit downstairs. Now, I am sure that is because it makes it easier to clean up after the game. But I know that people would rather sit between the 30 yard lines in the upper deck than sit on the goal line downstairs.
4. The format of the "game" isn't exactly a crowd pleaser. I don't care what the format is. I would go to Morgantown to watch the Mountaineers run tackling drills. But some people won't make the trip for a practice. The fact is, we had too many injuries to split into two teams. Therefore, this was the best format to use. It just didn't help attendance.
5. The forecast all week was for rain. Lots of rain. People aren't going to attend a practice in the rain. Heck, people who were there started bailing when the rain started.
6. There was very little publicity for the game. There were next to no ads in the newspapers or on the radio for this event. Understandably, it's not a money maker for the athletic department, as the proceeds from admission go to the WVU Children's Hospital. But that's not an excuse to not properly promote a WVU event.
On to the scrimmage and other points around campus...
After hearing weeks of criticism of the wide receivers, I thought the guys on the field Saturday were pretty impressive. It was pretty evident that we need some game breaker types, but I think we have some strong kids, some kids who can go over the middle, some kids who will catch the ball in traffic and some kids who will run through a wall. Sprinkle them with a couple of the true freshmen who are supposed to be world beaters, and this could be a pretty solid group this season.
I think people should be cautious with the hype on the freshmen wide receivers. I have two words: Jonathan Hargett.
I am still not off the Hargett bandwagon. I think he made a lot of mistakes, and has a lot to learn about college basketball, but I think he was a victim of the hype. And I would hate that to happen to these very talented football players.
I think the running back position is as good as it has ever been for the Mountaineers. Hikee Johnson needs some work and experience, and he may not get it as the third team superback, but if he did, we would have three tremendous superbacks.
I think John Beilein is a tremendous hire for WVU. I am also glad that someone had the brilliant idea of having him sign a contract before announcing him as coach. What an amazing concept.
I think Dan Dakich can stay at Bowling Green. If this is how he deals with adversity, he isn't the type of person we want as a Mountaineer. I don't care what the problems are.
I think someone is going to have a hard time running for Governor after their term as WVU president.
I think if Bob Huggins really wanted to be here, he would be the coach of the Mountaineers. I don't care what he needed or wanted. Negotiations are give and take. Not take and take.
I think I will stop this now before I get cut off...
See you in the fall.