MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s spring football schedule is taking on a fan-friendly, barnstorming flare, with head coach Dana Holgorsen announcing plans to stage three open practices, including two at off-campus locations.

The following Saturday practices will be open to fans (weather permitting):

— March 22 at Wheeling
— March 29 in Morgantown
— April 5 at Charleston

Those lead up to the April 12 spring game in Morgantown, which will be open to fans as usual.

“We want all of Mountaineer Nation to be able to come, to see what we’re putting out there, to see what the product is,” Holgorsen said. “I think everybody’s going to be pleasantly surprised at what the product’s going to be.”

With a three-year record of 21-17, Holgorsen is feeling the heat to rectify the program after last season’s 4-8 finish. Dating back to 2012 the Mountaineers have dropped 14 of their last 20 games, leading WVU athletics director Oliver Luck to issue an offseason vote-of-confidence for Holgorsen that came with the caveat, “We simply must get better.”

One player fans won’t be seeing this spring is senior quarterback Clint Trickett, who’s recovering from shoulder surgery and doesn’t project to be cleared until summer workouts.

“He will be throwing gradually over the course of spring, but will not be participating in spring (practices),” Holgorsen said.
“He’s participating in meetings, he’s actively learning and trying to get a little ahead of the curve knowledge-wise from where he was in the fall.”

Recall that Holgorsen grew frustrated last season by Trickett’s inability to click the offense into hurry-up mode, a problem the coach and transfer chalked up to communication foibles.

Trickett underwent arthroscopic surgery Jan. 14 on his right shoulder’s AC joint (an injury believed to have been suffered way back on Sept. 28 during an upset win over Oklahoma State). His most optimistic recovery timetable was mid-March, which would have allowed Trickett to take practice reps once the team returned from spring break.

As it stands now, he’ll have to settle for returning in time for 7-on-7 summer sessions.

“When he comes back in summer, he’ll be 100-percent cleared,” Holgorsen said.

Trickett remains the frontrunner to win the starting job next fall, but a heavy dose of spring reps could boost the profile of sophomore junior college transfer Skyler Howard. And, of course, there’s fellow senior Paul Millard, who started three games last season, and Fairmont State transfer Logan Moore, who shifted back to quarterback after working last season at receiver.

Junior linebackers Wes Tonkery (shoulder) and Jared Barber (knee) will sit out spring practice but should be cleared for summer workouts, Holgorsen said. In addition, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Tyler Tezeno (knee) could return near the end of spring practice.

Among the players cleared for spring drills: Redshirt freshman safety Malik Greaves (hip), junior linebacker Shaq Pettway (knee), junior running back Dustin Garrison (hamstring), sophomore nose tackle Christian Brown (foot) and sophomore cornerback Nana Kyeremeh (shoulder).

Another key player cleared to return is junior safety K.J. Dillon, whose season ended when he was hospitalized with dehydration after the Nov. 8 Texas game. Holgorsen said Dillon has increased his weight from 179 pounds at the time of his illness to a healthy 208.

In addressing the previously-reported promotion of Tony Gibson to defensive coordinator (created by Keith Patterson’s departure for Arizona State), Holgorsen emphasized the local ties at play. A Boone County native, a Glenville State graduate and, most famously, a former Rich Rodriguez assistant at WVU, Gibson has heartily preached the home-state narrative since returning last season to WVU.

“Nobody cares more about the Mountaineers, nobody cares more about the state of West Virginia and West Virginia University than Tony does,” Holgorsen said.

“When I announced it to the team the other day, I think he got a standing ovation by the kids, so you can tell what kind of respect they have for him.”

Holgorsen confirmed some breaking news later Friday, by announcing that he and Gibson were bringing aboard former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.

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  • wow

    we will like the product that will be put on the field, does that mean they are doing away with the yellow uni's.

  • Eer in Texas

    What is the news on Shelton Gibson ? He created a bit of excitement last year but haven't heard anything since.

  • jay zoom

    I am presently surprised---that your still here. I was hoping you would be run out of town by now along with the IDIOT who hired you. maybe next year when you have to explain why we had another losing season, and are looking for another D.C. and your so called special man from Penn State. THANKS OLLIE

  • Mister Man

    We are, definitely, moving in the right direction. These young men understand they will make a difference.

  • Mister Man

    Good hire!!!!

  • Red Dwarf

    I loyally support Dana and his efforts. Nobody was more frustrated with last season than he was, I'm sure. RR and Bobby Bowden had down years when they were in Morgantown and Dana has even more pressure being in a strong conference. I believe my faith in Dana will be paid of and I'm anxious to tweak my nay-saying friends in the nose this fall!

  • Shawn

    The last thing Alabama and Nick Saban want is to face a team who has an unknown mobile QB with big time depth at RB and WR. He hates fast play and WVU is already on his mind. I think this game will be closer than most think but its gonna take a gutsy and tough showing to best the Tide. I think our Defensive staff will bring some pain in that first game. Tom Bradley will educate our coaches on how to stop a Nick Saban offense.

    • nashville cat

      you have now shown yourself to be a complete idiot... the only thing we can hope for is that nick doesn't embarrass us and feels some loyalty to wv and wvu.
      if not,,, just figure the score will be anything that nick wants it to be..
      it could easily be 50-0.. Now i remain a wvu fan and alum,, but ala. is light years ahead of wvu on the gridiron.

  • TJ

    I'll be pleasantly surprised when clown is fired. Hiring Bradley is the last straw for this fan.

  • Harley

    Tom Bradley is and will be a big deal.

    • nashville cat

      easily could be our next HC... wouldn't be surprised that Luck has already clued him in on the possibilities

    • Scrap Heap

      The hiring of Tom Bradley is tragic and sad.

      • mad hatter

        bradley is a huge positive hire,,, he's the coach in waiting,,,, dana needs to look at the calander and note that his time is limited if he doesn't win..
        let' put some pressure on this egomaniac to win, with his players.
        But Bradley,, he's HC material,, and Luck knows it, and i think he is the one who hired Tom... GO EERS

        • David Elswick

          When Luck/Dana first took over, they focused on recruiting from the Big 12's footprint. Asst. coaches were hired with contacts in that area. WVU reduced its focu on our traditional recruiting areas.

          Since last summer, Dana has been replacing those coaches with coaches with ties to WVU and who have recruited our traditional recruiting areas. He seems to be going back to WV's traditional strengths.

          Hiring Bradley should help strengthen our recruiting in the PA, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland areas.

  • 1olewvufan

    I really like the hiring of former Penn State DC Tom Bradley. Bradley had some very good defenses during his many years at Penn State. I like the fact he is over WVU's Defense, and he should be with his many years of success.

    I would like to see one more coach hired for the defense.

    What WVU needs right now is stability on the Defensive Coaching Staff, and maintain the stability they appear to have on Offensive Coaching Staff.

    I agree with Holgorsen's statement about the fans being pleased with the product he and his staff produces in 2014.

    I also thought Crook statement that he was to blame with many of offensive line issues, was a positive.

    Opening up for the fans is a good thing and is a smart move on Holgorsen's part.

    I like what I'm seeing with the new coaches and the recruits that Holgorsen and his staff have brought in. WVU is further ahead with the 2015 recruiting class at this point-in-time than in previous years with 7-commits, and these are talented players.

    Go EERs!!!

  • wvajoker

    All of this negativity is appalling. Whether the Mountaineers have a championship season or a losing season they are still our Mountaineers and we shouldn't let this negative attitude spill over to the\footballteam. As for KeatonsCorner, you need to go back to the Herds's hole you came out of.

  • KeatonsCorner

    More smoke and mirrors from the WVU Athletic Department in an effort to sell tickets.

    After the first game, WVU will be 0-1...and it will only go down hill from there.

    Just sayin...

    • Aaron

      Meanwhile down in Huntington, after waxing Glenville State...

    • GoEers

      Hi Big Larry....I see that you are hijacking the screen name again of the person that called you out for who you are.

      That's not very nice Larry

    • Dave

      If you're saying we don't have a chance against Bama then you are wrong. Has WVU football been told we couldn't win before? Have we not been the only State in the nation that said yes we will win? Where is your Mountaineer pride? Where is your Mountaineer loyalty? Just because it says Alabama on the jersey doesn't mean they can't be beat.

      • mad hatter

        alabama is just not up to par with the big12,, okla showed the world , that.
        and wvu will got into tusc. and destroy them in their house, and take a dump on their logo after the game

        • WVcoal

          Take a deep breath. They play Bama at the GA Dome, in Atlanta.

          • David Elswick

            Lets look at history.

            1 - In a Sugar Bowl played in Atlanta, WVU was not suppose to be able to play with the SEC rep - Georgia. WVU was representing the smaller Big East that had lost 3 teams to the ACC. Memory serves me that Rich Rod had a score of 28-0 by the end of the 1st quarter. Georgia fans got very quiet. WVU won.

            2 - Rich Rod went to Michigan and WVU, under interim coach Bill Stewart, went to face Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl (after losing to Pitt [with a losing record] at home by 13-9). Score 48-28 - winner WVU. Mike Leach, head coach at Texas Tech, then hired Dana H. and told him "run what WVU ran, only run it faster".

            3- WVU representing the Big East in the Orange Bowl against Clemson and no tv announcers picked WVU. They all said Clemson would win by at least 21 points. Final score 70-33 - winner West Virginia.

            Personally, I lost forward to facing Alabama, coached by former WVU coach Nick Saban, on a neutral field. If former WVU coach Bobby Bowden was planning things, fans could expect a few trick plays to rattle Nick's team.

  • Country Roads

    It's one or the other, positive talk or negative talk, don't expect the coach to talk negative about anything before even spring practice. I think he said all the right things. Coach Holgorsen is out doing his job. He is trying to get people in the football mode, trying to tell them that we are going to be better, trying to tell them that we need them and their support come to Morgantown watch the games. It's like this with any coach when things go good or bad. What do you do? You change you shuffle move people around replace them. Haha what is the old saying? If it's broke fix it! If it's not broke don't fix it. Nothing wrong with taking the team to Wheeling to practice or going to Charleston, I like the idea.
    If you don't like Dana you're not going to like anything he does, if you're not in favor or West Virginia you're going to say nothing positive in their favor, just the way life is. I am a Mountaineer fan, going to support the team going to support the school going to support the coaches. Freedom of speech freedom of choice. See you at the games.

    • mad hatter

      let's see now, if i don't like the direction the dana has taken this team then i am not a wvu fan, and i shouldn't post anything negative.
      So , we all set back, watch our football program crumble, and accept it because that's what an eer fan does.
      Couldn't disagree with you more,,, If you are not open to change, you're stuck in reverse.If you don't express your thoughts about the program, then the program will be like the berlin wall,,, someone , sometime has to decide to knock down that wall...
      this is a make or brake yr for dana, 7 wins is a must... but i do like the bradley hire, he should have been named the DC

    • Dave

      Very well said and I couldn't agree more. WVU football will rise again!!!!!!

  • John b

    Like Holgs or not fact is his recruiting classes have been some of the best we have ever had in school history. Now the question is can he x and o these kids to victory? I think he can and I believe we are back on the rise.

    • mad hatter

      we are just one player away for a 10-2 season. and we easily could have done that the past yr.. no one really outplayed us, but just got a little impatient at times, and we will possibly win the conf this yr...

    • please

      His classes have been ranked in the 30s and 40s. Our classes have always been ranked in the 30s and 40s.

      Your claims are a bunch of bunk.

  • Mike

    Everything sounds rosy and great leading into spring ball...Ollie and Dana trying to sell tickets and get fans excited over a losing team. Time will tell.

    • Big fan

      I thought their record was 0-0. Didn't know this team had lost anything.

      • mad hatter

        what in the world are you talking about,, are you from looney tunes?

    • Heasa Duffuss

      I agree with Mike

      Why don't we fire all the coaches and release all the players so they can got to other schools and drop football all together for a few years.

      Then we can start up again fresh with no baggage!!!! After all according to many of the ass clowns on this site WVU suck they cannot win and may not win again for 2 or 3 decades

      Why have a team

      Just a thought from a Mountainer who WILL be at the games and supporting the team

      • mad hatter

        i agree, let's fire all the coaches.. now that's stupid,,, you're a troll from marshall , shame onl you don't you have your own site?
        and no we shouldn't get rid of fb ,what would we do on sat.s this fall

      • GoEers

        yeah there are some real winners who post on here....most of them are disgruntled jealous marshall trolls who can't stand the fact that WVU is playing in a Big 5 Conference while they're favorite team is stuck playing div. 2 like teams

        • mad hatter

          yes ,it's a shame all of us can't be winners, and win 3 bcs games, we probably just stumbled a bit over the last two yrs. and dana will fix it.I say, we go 8-4 this yr. and win a bowl.