Mountaineer head coach Neal Brown thinks his team is deepest at the wide receiver position. West Virginia lost just one receiver after 2019, and most of the team’s top contributors at receiver will be back in 2020. Brown has indicated that all of his receivers fit in some way, and he praised sophomore Sam James, who broke out on to the national scene as a freshman in 2019. Brown also said that Ali Jennings and Bryce Ford-Wheaton have had good practices and have been making some plays down field for the Mountaineers.
The West Virginia football team resumed preseason work on Monday morning with split-squad practices in shorts and shoulder pads. WVU head coach Neal Brown said Monday’s workout was lighter by design. Brown also said team leaders and depth chart questions will begin sorting themselves out when the team begins practicing together, which could happen later this week. The WVU offensive line is still perhaps the biggest unknown on the team this year, and that will not begin to sort itself out until the two groups, which the Mountaineers are currently split into, come together.
The West Virginia football team added two top transfers during the offseason, and that’s thanks in large part to the efforts of one assistant coach. Defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae helped the Mountaineers land a pair of former Arizona Wildcats who played for him while he was an assistant coach there. Head coach Neal Brown thinks Addae has done a lot of good things at WVU in his first year-plus back with the program.
As West Virginia’s football team began its second full week of practice Monday, it was obvious things are very different than in years past. The most notable is the program’s split-squad practice format, with players divided into two groups of about 50 and going through drills separately. In this model, players have been divided not by their projected spots on the depth chart, but by the time spent with each other away from the field.
West Virginia head coach Neal Brown thinks that the first week of practice was basically a bonus week since the Mountaineers are not opening their season until September 12th. At practice on Monday, Brown was impressed with the performances of safeties Jake Long and Sean Mahone. He also mentioned that cornerback Daryl Porter Jr. made a big pick-six during practice.
After West Virginia’s practice on Monday, head coach Neal Brown mentioned defensive linemen Darius Stills and Jeffery Pooler Jr. are continuing to get better. Brown also noted senior Dante Bonamico’s work at safety.
With no spring evaluation, no summer camps, and no in-person recruiting at all, recruiting for the 2021 signing class has come to a virtual standstill. The West Virginia football staff is still recruiting the players it knows, and the guys it already has offered, but it is difficult for them to extend new offers without being able to evaluate new film or see them in person.
West Virginia Athletics
A COVID-19 saliva test developed by the Yale School of Public Health could potentially be significant for sports and daily life. West Virginia University director of athletics Shane Lyons, also chair of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee, has called the new saliva test a potential “game changer” for college sports.
Around the Big 12
Big 12 men’s basketball is being represented by 28 former players on the 2020 active NBA playoff rosters. Seven different Big 12 programs have former players in the playoffs. Iowa State’s eight players is the third most in the playoffs among all college programs.
Around the NCAA
Colleges might be allowed to provide their athletes with more education-related benefits, including school equipment, travel opportunities, and cash incentives. The U.S. Supreme Court denied an NCAA request to pause a ruling in a lower court that opens the door for athletes to receive expanded benefits. Jeffrey Kessler, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, first filed suit on behalf of West Virginia football player Shawne Alston in 2014.
The SEC has announced its changes to the conference football schedule this season. Some of the changes may appear to some like the league is trying to make things easier on its potential College Football Playoff teams. In the ACC, Notre Dame has agreed to take on an ACC schedule and is eligible for the conference title game in 2020.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields started a petition requesting the Big Ten immediately reinstate the 2020 football season, a petition that had nearly 250,000 signatures as of 4 p.m. ET Monday. Fields believes the players should be able to make decisions about what is best for their health and future.
The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz kicked off the 2020 NBA Playoffs with an instant classic, as the Nuggets emerged victorious in overtime. The Nuggets came out on top, with a 135-125 win. Donovan Mitchell did everything he could for his team, by getting 57 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists for the Jazz.
Two historic Eastern Conference franchises battled in Game 1 of their first-round playoff matchup, as the third-seeded Boston Celtics defeated the sixth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers, 109-101. Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum scored a playoff career-high 32 points, adding in 13 rebounds and three blocks.
The defending champion Toronto Raptors kicked off their quest to repeat with a 134-110 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first round series. Toronto’s Fred VanVleet had playoff career-highs with 30 points and 11 assists.
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