MORGANTOWN—Almost two months to the day since there was any activity at the Milan Puskar Center in Morgantown, WVU head football coach Neal Brown spoke with the media to give updates on his staff and team.
“The last two weeks have been tougher on our guys than probably the previous six,” Brown said last Wednesday. “We’re at a point where they need something to look forward to. So much of their days, and really their year-long calendar, is structured. And as we finished up last semester we’re looking forward to a date and hopefully that’s coming in the near future.”
According to Brown, the spring semester finished last week, and he was pleased with how his players performed academically. 18 WVU football players are expected to earn their degrees, and they are (in alphabetical order by last name): Chase Behrndt, Charlie Benton, Dante Bonamico, Mike Brown, Zach Davis, Lorenzo Dorr, Noah Drummond, Nate Green, Osman Kamara, Jake Long, Sean Mahone, Josh Norwood, Cody Saunders, Eric Sjöstedt, Evan Staley, Logan Thimons, Tyler Thurman, and Dylan Tonkery.
A few of these players still have college eligibility remaining, but nonetheless will be recognized with the others.
“It won’t be a normal graduation, but it’s still a huge accomplishment,” stated Brown. “Congratulations to our guys. We are going to do several things on our social media platforms leading into Saturday to really commemorate those guys.”
The second-year head coach explained how he has continued to maintain a consistent approach with his players which focuses mainly on three areas: the health and wellness of the players, their routines and schedules, and providing a culture of accountability.
“The things on that ‘routine and schedule’ are academics, nutrition, and meetings,” he noted. “Things that are non-mandatory that we are hoping and encouraging them to do are workouts and position work.”
He also went on to talk about the status of their current situation as it applies to getting back into the facilities and back onto the field.
“I think the state of West Virginia, led by Clay Marsh, has done a really good job with our reopening,”
Brown continued to say. “We’re now waiting for the Big 12 Conference and the Football Oversight Committee, which we’re fortunate that our Athletic Director Shane Lyons leads. We’re looking for direction from them to provide guidelines.”
Brown explained that preparations and discussions are currently underway to provide a safe environment for the players when they return to campus and begin their training.
Overseeing the startup will be the team medical staff, led by Dr. A.J. Monseau and head athletic trainer Vince Blankenship.
“We’re preparing, and we’ve been preparing, for the return for our players. Whenever we get the goahead we will be ready,” Brown added. “I know the Big 12 is working with a group from Duke University, DICON (Duke Infection Control Outreach Network), so we will have procedures and guidelines for that return, whenever that is. I continue to be cautiously optimistic about playing football this fall.”