West Virginia hasn’t played a football game since Dec. 1. So now four weeks since their win over Kansas is there any way to tell how the Mountaineers will play Saturday in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse?
Not really says WVU assistant coach Robert Gillespie.
“In the end you really don’t know,” Gillespie told MetroNews just after the team’s final practice of the season Thursday. “We had our biggest and best practices in Morgantown. So coming here for these two days of practice has been just fine tuning some things. We feel good about it but it all depends how these guys go out and play on Saturday.”
Bowl game performance is an inexact science. There are times when Mountaineer teams have seemingly prepared well only to lay an egg in the bowl game and times when the preparation wasn’t all that good and they played great. Does anyone remember the 2000 Music City Bowl?
Coach Gillespie says the goal is to be ready on the day of the game not two days before or one day after.
“It’s all about getting better everyday and hoping you reach a peak on game day,” he said. “Our legs are fresh, we understand the game plan and I hope we peak at the right time on Saturday.”
Gillespie says there’s also a mental aspect in the art of bowl preparation.
“It all boils down to how these kids feel and what their mindset is. The main thing is we don’t want to make them get bored, or get too tired, get too high or low. You just want them to stay even keel,” Gillespie said.
The coach describes the week in New York City as a business trip.
“Once we got here everything was pretty much done. We’re excited about it. We feel fresh and healthy and hopefully we go out there and play well on Saturday,” Gillespie said.
Kickoff at Yankee Stadium is set for 3:15. Coverage on several MetroNews stations begins at 12:06 with SportsBrunch.