WVU in mock week mode
by Jim Buzzerd
The West Virginia University football team opens its season next Thursday night at Pitt, after an 11 year hiatus, and this week will serve as what head coach Neal Brown refers to as mock week, culminating with a mock game on Thursday. Mock week began Sunday and is a rehearsal of what the Mountaineers will do in final week of preparation for Pitt.
“We had our last scrimmage on Thursday night and then we met on Friday,” Brown said Monday. “We didn’t do anything on Saturday and then started to work on a mock game week on Sunday, and we will get into some Pitt as we go. It’s kind of a way to train our guys for what the actual game week will be.”
This Thursday evening will serve the as the team’s mock game, which is basically a dry run for the opener. “We are going to work some Pitt this week, don’t get me wrong, but our real in-depth preparation will start on Friday,” Brown said.
Of course, the thing Brown didn’t say, the thing we’ve all been waiting for, is who will be the starting quarterback. I’ve been assured that there is no suspense and Georgia transfer JT Daniels will be under center next Thursday. Ok, I think most of us figured the only big story at quarterback would be if Daniels wasn’t named the starter. Still, given Daniels’ injury prone career, there is suspense, at least in my corner, on who will be QB2.
Brown addressed the quarterback situation at Monday’s press conference. “We’re not going to announce anything today,” said Brown. “We feel really good about our present and future and we’re working through that. I’m not trying to be coy about that. We’ll announce a starter before the game. We’re not to that point yet.”
For what it’s worth, some insight on how Brown views a quarterback competition may be gleaned from this comment at Big 12 Media Days in July. “Quarterback competitions, when they’re won, it’s evident,” Brown said. “Your team knows it. It’s not like you have to put out a social media announcement or stand in front of the team and say this is our starter. When a quarterback wins that competition, it’s very clear. It’s really clear who the team believes in, who they’re productive for. Everybody wants to talk about them, but it’s really the easiest one to choose.”
West Virginia athletics director Shane Lyons didn’t do the Mountaineers any favors when he put together this season’s schedule. The opener at a strong Pitt team, ranked 16th and 17th in the two major polls, begins a season where WVU will face 11 Power Five opponents with six of those games on the road. That is unheard of in college football these days. WVU may be the only school to do so this season.
Only Towson in Morgantown on Saturday, September 17 is a non-Power Five opponent.