So I haven’t been in Morgantown since Friday. I was in Kansas City until yesterday — Matt Brown says hi! — when I traveled to Oklahoma City via Denver. In fewer words I missed the pre-spring football luncheon.
(Aside: I was at an NBA game where the home team did something that, needless to say, I’m not used to.)
Anyhow, what I heard from home was that spring football has limited access at WVU. Players are available just four times in 15 practices that span 51 days. First-year players are not available. There are days when only Dana Holgorsen or only assistant coaches talk and days where nobody talks, like Sunday, the first day, which is odd.
We get to see about the same amount of football that we did before, but we get to talk less about it, and if you’re writing about football in the spring, as opposed to players or coaches or ideas, you’re doing it wrong.
It’ll make covering it harder, but it wasn’t easy, or much fun, in the first place. It’s a change and you only change things because you feel a need to change them. Dana has the steering wheel and, to be honest, I kind of thought he didn’t much like talking about spring football in the past.
That’s not to say he didn’t like coaching it. It’s a classroom experience, really, where you teach more than you come to learn and you’re not going to have something new to say every day. You’d struggle to structure it the way he does — three days, rinse, repeat — and speak excitedly every afternoon.
Yet the critic in me yields to the strategist. Let’s be honest: We’re going to be talking about and compelled to write about the quarterback derby from now until it’s decided — and maybe even beyond that. Fifteen practices across 51 days, which is followed by an entire summer, will be a drag on those involved, including the players, who Holgorsen would prefer go at this with a free mind.
What’s a good way to manage a story? You hide it.
Holgorsen couldn’t hide Tuesday and you’ll never guess what was the top topic of the day.
Holgorsen, who is 17-9 in two seasons at WVU, gets to oversee his first open quarterback competition as a head coach and his first since 2008 at Houston. That was Holgorsen’s first year as Kevin Sumlin’s offensive coordinator there, and they wanted to get a long look at Case Keenum and Blake Joseph, quarterbacks who had split duties the previous season under Art Briles.
Sumlin and Holgorsen settled on Keenum, who finished his career as college football’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions.
“We had a competition there that went 15 practices in spring and 15 practices in fall before we made that decision,” Holgorsen said. “Once spring is over, a lot can happen in the summer. You’ve got a lot of tape to watch and 15 more practices you can look forward to, so I hesitate to (name a starter in the spring).”