MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen has been known for his wide-open style of offensive football.
Now, he's trying to become more open to his team's fans, or what he calls "Mountaineer Nation." On Friday, Holgorsen announced he'll take WVU on a barnstorming tour of sorts this spring, with Saturday stops in Charleston and Wheeling.
"On March 22, we'll be going to Wheeling," Holgorsen said during a pre-spring practice media gathering. "On March 29, we'll have one in Morgantown. On April 5, we'll be in Charleston. Then April 12 will be the spring game.
"All four of those practices will be open. We want all of Mountaineer Nation to come and see what we're putting out there, to see what the product is. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised at what the product is going to be."
One part of the "product," however, will be missing. Holgorsen said quarterback Clint Trickett will not take part in spring drills as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
"He'll be throwing gradually through the course of spring, but won't be participating," Holgorsen said. "He's participating in meetings right now. He'll be cleared once [phase] Summer One comes around, May 19."
WVU returns Paul Millard at the position. Holgorsen moved Fairmont native Logan Moore back there from receiver. But many will be watching junior college transfer Skyler Howard, a sophomore.
"He can work out good," Holgorsen said. "That's all I've seen. He's asked a lot of questions in the meeting room. He comes in and talks with [offensive coordinator] Shannon [Dawson] all the time. He asks a lot of questions. He's eager. Nothing's more important to him than being a quarterback, which I view as incredibly important.
"I haven't seen him in a football setting yet. The workout end of it, though, is good. The players gravitate toward him. He gets through a workout better than our skill guys. He's a breath of fresh air to me."
Aside from Trickett, also scheduled to miss all or most of spring drills are senior linebackers Wes Tonkery (shoulder, thumb) and Jared Barber (knee) and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Tyler Tezeno (knee).
Cleared for drills after missing games last year: safety Malik Greaves (hip), linebacker Shaq Petteway (knee), running back Dustin Garrison (hamstring), defensive lineman Christian Brown (foot), cornerback Nana Kyeremeh (shoulder) and safety Ricky Rumph (foot).
Holgorsen also used Friday to formally introduce Van native Tony Gibson as defensive coordinator, although the news was reported last week.
"There's a number of reasons it hasn't been announced until now, but we just got the signature today," Holgorsen said. "Being a Mountaineer to Tony is important. Nobody cares more about the Mountaineers and West Virginia and West Virginia University than Tony. You've seen a pattern with our hires."
Aside from Gibson, Holgorsen has hired Parkersburg native Ron Crook and former Mountaineer players Damon Cogdell and JaJuan Seider. Then later Friday night, Holgorsen announced the hiring Tom Bradley. (See related story.)