MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A unconventional preseason training camp will open on Monday for the WVU football team. In the ultimate team sport, the Mountaineers will be divided into two completely separate units to minimize contact. They will appropriately be named the ‘Gold Group’ and the ‘Blue Group’.
The players will not be broken up according to a preseason depth chart, but rather which players are roommates and spend the most time together off the field.
“Everything is spread out,” second-year head coach Neal Brown said. “The first group will basically come in and get taped, get treatment and eat breakfast. While they are at breakfast we will do our virtual position meeting there with their iPads. That will be like our install meeting.
“All of our meetings are virtual – team, special teams and position meetings,” Brown said. “The Gold and Blue Group do the same thing. It’s essentially two-a-days for the coaches. This has really how we’ve been operating since we started the 20-hour rule where you get the six hours of walk-throughs, six hours of position meetings and eight hours of conditioning.”
Brown said the practices will be shorter and crisper than a typical fall training camp practice.
“What we are going to do is go from a real high-intensity drill to a low-intensity drill and then back to a high-intensity drill and then to a low drill. That’s how the practices are going to work out.
“We’ve had twelve walk-throughs leading into fall camp, which you don’t normally get during the summer,” Brown explained. “Usually, you have spring ball and then you have a very limited meeting time and nothing with the ball with the players until you get into fall camp.”
Brown enters his second season guiding the Mountaineers. They went 5-7 last fall, winning two of their last three games on the road to close the 2019 season.
“You look at our scholarship numbers and the amount of people who have been in our program longer than the time I’ve been here is not a whole lot of them,” he noted. “We are really young and a little bit immature, but there is some good in that because they are eager too. I like our energy. I do think that, mentally, our capacity just from a football intelligence standpoint on offense, defense and special teams is encouraging.”
Brown added that junior defensive lineman Taijh Alston will not be able to practice at the start of camp. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the 2019 season at Missouri. Alston could miss the first half of the season.