The West Virginia University Spring game is all wrong for 2016. The format, the improvised scoring and even the location is bad for the fans. Like most major schools, the Mountaineers have historically ended Spring practice with an actual game by fielding two separate teams. Under Head Coach Dana Holgorsen it is nothing more than the last of four Spring scrimmages, but with an audience and a convoluted scoring system.
Under previous head coaches the assistant coaches were allowed to choose up sides among all of the players and have a real game with official rules as well as officiating. Weather permitting, that would draw a decent sized turnout and raise a significant amount of money for the WVU Children’s Hospital. Fans would get a chance to see for themselves which players were contenders as well as those that were pretenders.
Many schools throughout the power 5 conferences still put on a real game, even if it’s the first team against the second team. Ohio State is expecting 100,000 fans! Even if Holgorsen made the first team offense and second team defense the Blue team and the second team offense with the first team defense the Gold team, fans would get their money’s worth and I’ll bet many more would attend.
I understand that Milan Puskar Stadium is not available, but the Greenbrier is in the middle of nowhere and not equipped to stage a real football game. Bleachers will be provided, but that’s about it. The players will not even be available for autographs when the scripted scrimmage is over.
There are other options available in the greater Morgantown area to hold a Spring football game. Fairmont State’s Duvall-Rosier Field has a decent artificial turf and plenty of seating capacity.
Everything about the WVU Spring game this year is simply a matter of poor planning and choices. The fans are being cheated and the children’s hospital will receive very little.
Shame on Coach Holgorsen for doing this and shame on A D Lyons for allowing it to happen.
Not only does this type of scripted scrimmage reduce the potential monies that could be raised for the Children’s Hospital, it fails to allow the athletes to show off their skills and talents to their families, friends, the alumni, and fans.
The Spring game should be an event to allow players to truly complete against each other so they can be better evaluated, and fans can see for themselves what the future holds for the team. It should be an event that gets fans excited about the team to increase season ticket sales as well.
The game should be better located to accommodate all WVU fans, as well as familiarize them with the team. It should be an event where fans can meet players and coaches and get autographs.
Who would not want to see QBs Skyler Howard and Chris Chugunov, or RBs Rushel Shell III and Kennedy McKoy go against each other?
Last season’s spring game gave us some insight to this year’s format. After Chris Chugunov connected with Daikiel Shorts for a 1st down on a pass thrown across the field while running, he was pulled from the game.
The same thing happened to QB Austin Hensley when he stood in the end-zone and took a hit after making a nice throw to Donte Thomas-Williams for 35-yards and a first-down.
Both of these QBs made throws that Howard didn’t make all season and their reward was an immediate trip to the bench. Fans will see much of the same this season: scripted plays which appear to be designed to make a handful of players look better.
My advice to fans is if you go to the game or watch it on-line, don’t get hyped about how good this team is. WVU most likely win 7 or 8 regular season games, get into a minor bowl game, and depending on who they play in the bowl game, they could end the season with 8 or 9 wins.
I cannot understand why Holgs wants to simply concentrate on the first team players in what is merely a glorified scrimmage. A real intra-squad game would involve the whole team. The event in White Sulphur Springs next Saturday is a mockery and a slap in the face to both WVU fans and the residents of WV.
Every Mountaineer fan, booster, and alumnus should let AD Lyons and HC Holgorsen know how you feel, so we can stop this non-sense. Give us a real game!
What do you think? Leave us a comment.