It’s a work in progress, an often used phrase in the world of sports, and it is the perfect one to use following West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Game. This past Saturday, the Mountaineer football game concluded spring practice with a two-hour competition at Milan Puskar Stadium. The event included 74 plays, the cheerleaders, band, and a lower than usual amount of fans. The weather was to blame for the attendance and those who did not want to brave the elements could view the action on ESPN+.
This tilt is all about showcasing the program and the players within it. In what game this upcoming season do you think WVU Head Coach , Neil Brown will play six quarterbacks with the reps freely shared? One interesting facet of this scrimmage is the scoring system. The defensive unit garnered points for three-and-out possessions and turnovers along with traditional scoring that they would be awarded in a regular season game. This allowed the offense to go against the defense in the most competitive way possible that allowed the scoreboard to do the talking.
Credit must be given for the involvement of this event. It has always been used as a tool to excite the fan base and to boost early ticket sales for the upcoming season. It has grown into a mini Super Bowl for the Mountain State. A pregame concert by Philip Bowen kicked off the festivities. At halftime the players stopped on the field while team award winners were recognized. There was a little change following the lock-up as there was no autograph session. But young fans were in for an even bigger treat. Those that were members of the Mountaineer Kids Club were invited on the field to participate in tailgate games, pass and catch, and participate in a field goal kicking challenge to complete the day.
The award winners were CJ Cole, Tony Mathis Jr., Doug Nestor, Marcis Floyd, and Jared Bartlett. Cole was named the winner of the Tommy Nickolich Memorial Award. Mathis Jr., Nester, Floyd and Bartlett were the Iron Mountaineer Award winners.
Brown used the game as a way to reward all of his players for their efforts during this spring practice period. Excluding injured players, almost everybody saw action somewhere in the 74 plays. That provides a little more incentive and motivation for those that are down deeper on the depth chart to work a little harder on their own time. The players have the next three weeks to refresh before coming back for the summer. Brown calls it down time, but it’s really to get a leg up on your teammates’ time. The competition amongst players leads to better play come this fall and Brown talked about the benefits of this day for his players. He mentioned the prior practices have been used to put in schemes and to provide the reputations.
However, this game day feel with a Big 12 Conference official officiating the crew and fans in the stands added the element of presence. Brown and his staff can now evaluate based on how the troops responded in battle.
There were so many who benefited from this event. The players, coaches and fans all gained something from Saturday. The biggest winner was the WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital. A portion of the proceeds go to the hospital and there were several children in attendance. They equally cheered along with everyone else who participated and were recognized.
That will do it for now. Until next week… take care and God Bless!