Unsettled feeling as WVU unveils changes for Missouri game
It’s the 125th season of West Virginia University football. And it’s one where the smell of change (and impending change) is in the mountain air.
The Mountaineer defense has eight or nine new starters and is missing its most reliable player in Dravon Askew-Henry, already gone with a knee injury.
Even with Rushel Shell and Skyler Howard returning to the offense, what will be the status of tackle Adam Pankey after his brush with the law? And reserve guard Tony Matteo missed two weeks of practice with an injury.
Missouri of the vaunted Southeastern Conference is the first opponent on the 2016 schedule. The Tigers were only 5-7 last season but the coaching staff is new and the players will have some skills.
Fans attending are being asked to wear gold and the game is being billed as “Gold Rush.” There will be 60,000 gold shakers handed out to those in attendance. Those spirit boosters are being called “WVU125 gold shakers.”
One side of the stadium has been given many additional fan amenities. There are elevators to the now-wider concourse level. Additional concession stands are easily accessible. Now provided are 90 more toilets for women. And to keep pace with the technologies of the times there are charge stations for cell phones. Paintings and large photos of former Mountaineer greats will adorn many of the concrete pilings and supports.
Now can the Mountaineers beat Missouri?
It’s going to be a 12-noon start and the late summer heat could be a factor as the teams attempt to play at a fast-paced tempo with their offenses.
Thousands of tickets are still available and will be even on game-day morning on Sept. 3.
Creature comforts have been added to the stadium. There are additional gates to accommodate those who arrive from tailgate stimulus and long walks from far away parking areas.
The sale of beer at concession areas will be in its second year. Will the suds be used to celebrate WVU scores or wash away the sudden Missouri successes?
This will be the second season with athletic director Shane Lyons as the school’s major domo of all sports.
This will be the sixth season with Dana Holgorsen as the head coach.
Here comes Missouri from the Show Me State, full of just as many questions as those that hover over West Virginia.
“Let’s bring on the Mountaineers!” How long will it take to see just how good the 2016 team is?