The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 24, 2012

Mountaineers set for spring practice

MORGANTOWN — Are you still cherishing West Virginia University’s 70-33 crushing football conquest of ACC champion Clemson in the Jan. 4 Orange Bowl?

Well, get ready for spring practice. It’s just around the corner.

The gridders will gather Sunday, March 11, for the first of the 15 days of drills allowed by the NCAA. The players will work out Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday each week.

That is, except for the last week in February, when students will be on spring break.

WVU’s annual Gold and Blue scrimmage, which winds up spring practice, is scheduled for Saturday, April 21.

A kickoff time has not been set.

This will be the official start of Dana Holgorsen’s second year as the head coach.

He loses 23 members of last year’s team that posted a 10-3 record. But 28 new recruits will be available this fall.

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In case you’re interested, I’m not the only media type who thinks Pitt and West Virginia should retain athletic relations on a nonconference basis.

That is, the two institutions ought to get together once each leaves the Big East and schedule future games in football and basketball and perhaps other sports.

Joe Starkey, a sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is certainly in favor of keeping the Backyard Brawl alive.

If you haven’t read Starkey’s excellent commentary on the matter, you might still find it online from the Thursday, Feb. 16, edition.

Here are a few paragraphs:

“Is this the end? Sadly it appears so. Sadder still, I’m not sure many people are…

“What a shame. What a crying shame. Call it the Backyard Bawl.”

Joe Starkey noted that he always thought rivalries made college sports special. I’m sure he’ll find many folks feel the same.

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Andy McCutcheon, a West Virginia native and former nationally known sports writer, died of cancer recently in the Richmond, Va., area at 84.

He spent several years writing for The Richmond News Leader after graduating from Washington & Lee University, where he had played as a lineman on the football team.

McCutcheon, a graduate of Charleston’s Stonewall Jackson High, turned to politics later in life and ran for Congress.

He served in the Navy late in World War II.

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