The WVU football team got one step closer to game action with the first day of preseason camp on Tuesday. There are now 30 days until the Mountaineers open up at Milan Puskar Stadium against Missouri.
The first day of camp was a way for WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen to check in with the media before practices and drills are off limits to reporters.
This is the sixth preseason camp for Holgorsen and he’d, obviously, plan on getting better as each one comes. Holgorsen knows what is at stake for his team, as well as his own, future. It’s a make-or-break year for the Mountaineers.
Though it is way too early to tell how this season will shape up, Holgorsen has a good bearing on where his Mountaineers stand before things get into a full swing.
“Excited,” Holgorsen told reporters. “Ready to get back to work. Vacation time is over. We gave the players last week off to go home and take care of things, but they are all here and anxious to get started.
“Everybody is here. And, they seem ready to go. We have a couple that have to make up some summer workouts that they missed before they can participate with the rest of the team. But, everybody that we were expecting to see are here.”
Jovon Durante, is the biggest name who is back on the field after missing spring workouts. He will be one of the team’s best wide receivers, after coming off a breakout freshman season which saw him score the first touchdown of the 2015 season.
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Under Skyler Howard, the offense has a chance to put up numbers similar to that of the 2011 and 2012 season with legendary players like Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Bailey is back in Morgantown as a special assistant, so the 2016 season is already off to a strong start with a successful member of the past on board to mentor the current crop of Mountaineers.
The biggest question mark heading into the 2016 campaign is the defense. By graduating eight starting seniors, including the entire linebacker corps, Holgorsen will definitely have his eyes on emerging players trying to fill the spots of players like Shaq Petteway, Jared Barber and Nick Kwiatkoski.
“Last year, it was the offense which feed off all of the negative remarks made about them during the preseason,” Holgorsen said on Tuesday. “This year, it’s the defense, which is taking offense to all the preseason chatter.”
The offense isn’t fully out of the clear, but most of the spots are already secure in skill positions, in the backfield and along the line.