MORGANTOWN -- While waiting for the latest coaching soap opera to end and the next one to develop, West Virginia's football players are doing the only thing they can and probably should.
They're working out and getting ready for whatever the summer and the season hold.
"Nothing distracts us. In the end we still have to go out there and play,'' offensive lineman Jeff Braun said Tuesday. "That's all that's going to matter to me and [I have to] make sure my teammates have my back and I have theirs because we're the ones who are going to do the work.
"We really don't discuss it. We just go about our business.''
There is, however, plenty to discuss these days in the behind-the-scenes drama that has become West Virginia's incredibly awkward coaching situation.
Head coach Bill Stewart has been accused of plotting a private smear campaign through the media against his successor, Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen, meanwhile, who was hired as WVU's offensive coordinator and is to replace Stewart as head coach at the end of the 2011 season, has his own issues after a receiving a public reprimand -- not to mention a public embarrassment -- by being asked to leave a casino in the wee hours of the morning last month.
Meanwhile, rumors swirl about unrest among the coaching staff trying to deal with an obviously untenable arrangement thrust upon them by athletic director Oliver Luck, whose decision it was to attempt to remake the staff with a mix of old and new faces and a lame duck head coach supposedly guiding it all.
For his part, Luck issued a statement Tuesday and somewhat addressed the situation:
"There have been various reports, much speculation and rumor around our football program and coaches. But I want to make it clear that I consider these to be personnel matters and while I take them very seriously, I am dealing with them internally and privately -- and I will not discuss them publicly,'' Luck said.
"What I will say is that our athletic department coaches and staff are clear that their focus is on the program, the team and a successful season. My expectations of all our coaches and staff have not wavered; that is to run a clean and honest program with the utmost integrity and professionalism. Anything less is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
From a purely football standpoint, the whole issue, or issues, have not appeared to break the focus of the players. That's easy, of course, in June and July when the coaches are not allowed to instruct the players and the mentors are the members of the strength staff.
"We read it on the Internet, but we don't really discuss it. It's not a big deal to us,'' said defensive end Bruce Irvin. "It don't matter to us if [director of football communications] Mike Montoro's coaching us next year. We're still going out there and handle business like we planned on doing.''