Mountaineers practice Saturday in Charleston
MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University is bringing more than just a football team to Charleston today, and it’s not an easy task.
There are coaches, trainers, managers and other support staff. There is equipment; tons of equipment. There is food to be found.
“Yeah, there’s a lot more to it than just bringing a travel squad,’’ said Steve Dunlap, whose job it is to coordinate a lot of what it takes to move a football practice 2 1/2 hours down Interstate 79.
Hopefully all of the bugs have been worked out. West Virginia’s football team is scheduled to arrive in shifts ahead of today’s 1 p.m. practice at Laidley Field, a workout that is free to the public.
“It takes some coordination and some planning,’’ Dunlap said. “But I think we’ve got it all down.’’
For West Virginia’s second remote practice of the spring — the first was in Wheeling two weeks ago — transporting the team and the support staff requires five buses. The first will leave the Puskar Center at 7:30 a.m. today with trainers, managers and the team’s kickers and punters. The trainers and managers will begin the set-up required for practice and the specialists will, as always, begin work early.
A half hour after the first bus leaves, the rest of the team and coaches will have meetings in Morgantown at 8 a.m., then breakfast 40 minutes later. Filling four more buses, they should be on the road by 9:30 a.m.
When they arrive, most everything should be ready to go. Dunlap thought when the idea of moving practice first came up that it would take a medium-sized truck to move all the equipment. As it turns out, it takes a 53-foot 18-wheeler.
By the time the bulk of the team arrives, the specialists will likely be working either on their craft or on the pizzas that will arrive for them. That’s not the only food required, of course. There will be snacks and energy drinks when the players arrive and then boxed meals they will eat on the bus on the way home.
As for the practice itself, Dunlap said that it will likely contain more scrimmaging than did the workout in Wheeling, simply because it is two weeks later. The team will then return home in four of the five buses without the coaches and other support staff, who have a Mountaineer Athletic Club function following practice.
Today’s practice, which also will include an autograph session afterward, is WVU’s 11th of the 15 allowed by the NCAA during the spring. The final four will be held Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, finishing with Saturday’s Gold-Blue game at Mountaineer Field.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or email@example.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.