With rain, snow and sleet impacting New York on Wednesday afternoon, head coach Dana Holgorsen opted to move West Virginia’s practice indoors — to the team hotel.
“I woke up to a blizzard, which is not real cool,” the coach said.
The midday temperature was 32 degrees, and wind chills were dipping into the low 20s throughout the afternoon, when WVU originally was slotted to practice at Fordham University. Instead, the Mountaineers worked out inside the Hilton New York, which has 151,000 square feet of meeting space — though we doubt there was much room for punting.
“It was like one of our Friday walk-throughs,” said receiver Stedman Bailey. “We didn’t have very much space to maneuver or throw balls downfield, so we had to make it like a mental day. We got some pretty good work in — we just tried to take a lot of mental reps and make sure everybody was where they were supposed to be.”
Syracuse practiced outdoors at Columbia University on Wednesday morning, before the worst of the weather reached New York. But even with one of WVU’s three days of on-location practice essentially nixed, Holgorsen downplayed its effect on preparation for Saturday’s bowl.
“We won’t use that as an excuse,” he said. “We got a lot done in Morgantown. We’ve been talking to the guys about reviewing what we already got accomplished. We’ll line up and put a good product out there.”
“(Practicing in a hotel ballroom) was like one of our Friday walk-throughs. We didn’t have very much space to maneuver or throw balls downfield, so we had to make it like a mental day. We just tried to take a lot of mental reps.” — WVU receiver Stedman Bailey
WVU has another morning practice scheduled for Thursday morning, once again on the Fordham campus. Holgorsen said he expects the Mountaineers to be outdoors working in whatever elements Mother Nature summons.
“We have an indoor (facility) in Morgantown we rarely use because we prefer to be outside,” he said. “This (storm system) should clear out of here in the next two days. I’m becoming a very good weatherman. I study that (radar) pretty hard, and I’ve been dead-on here the last few times.”
The early forecast for Saturday afternoon’s kickoff at Yankee Stadium: 36 degrees with possible snow and rain.