Quick Hits: Mountaineers Hold First Orange Bowl Practice - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: Mountaineers Hold First Orange Bowl Practice


West Virginia University's buses pulled up at Barry University with a roster-full of Mountaineers thrilled to have a little fun in the sun. Only this fun was in the form of their first bowl practice in Miami.

"In one word, it's just ridiculous," WVU center Joe Madsen says of being in South Florida. "It's something I've never been to and there are celebrities and stuff like that. It's just out of this world and just the surroundings are beautiful. We haven't been to the beach yet and I can't wait to go there, but for now it's just focusing on Clemson and doing our job."

In previous years, the players who hail from Florida have always made remarks that bowl games in Jacksonville or in Orlando aren't "the real Florida." Well, this certainly is the real Florida.

The Mountaineers were loose out in the heat and many said that they hadn't played or practiced in this sort of weather since their high school days. If the goal with this team is to keep it relaxed and enthusiastic, they appeared to be accomplishing just that.

Absent from practice were both Vance and Vernard Roberts as well as Michael Dorsey and Trey Johnson. Head coach Dana Holgorsen confirmed prior to practice that all four Mountaineers are no longer with the team.

"None of those guys have been a very big contributor the way it is. It is what it is," says Holgorsen. "Two guys didn't meet grades and two guys didn't make the trip for a reason. We're going to move on without them."

The Roberts twins were seen as a strong addition last year's recruiting class when they committed out of Washington, D.C.'s Dunbar High School, while Johnson and Dorsey were both sophomores. All four were removed from the online team roster on Friday.

Safety Terence Garvin took in practice from the sideline on crutches, while he continues to experience the beginning stages of rehab following surgery to repair torn cartilage.

Our brief look at drills consisted mostly of walk through and special teams periods, but as that's the most that's been open to the media since fall camp, there were few complaints.

Geno Smith and the Mountaineer quarterbacks did a number of net drills with various cone setups and in one, where they each weaved along the cones before throwing the ball, walkon Michael Burchett led the pack.

Following the drills, just before the media was kicked out, Smith and Burchett each did what the kids call "Tebowing" these days, kneeling and putting their clenched fist to their heads as though praying. But they call it Tebowing. Make of it what you will.

On WVU's shoes were a bright canary yellow cleat similar to those the team wore with its Nike Pro Combat uniforms a season ago. This special edition Nike product was given to BCS contenders to reward them for a successful season, but they're also a taste of what's to come in 2012.

According to assistant equipment manager Aaron Malik, the yellow and silver cleats will be worn only in the Orange Bowl, while blue and white versions will be on the field next season.

Holgorsen has made mention this year that he would like to see gray uniforms at West Virginia in the future. No one would confirm that the future may be as soon as next year, but the ambiguous answers could be a telling sign that additions will be made to the wardrobe for the coming season.

At Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, the Clemson Tigers began practice three hours earlier, but really, they're out to a much greater head start in terms of preparation down here. It's by design on both parts, though.

Head coach Dabo Swinney got his Tigers in town on the 27th, two days prior to WVU's arrival. The Mountaineers say they're glad their coach chose to give them a five-day break for the holiday instead.

"Definitely. Having us fresh and just coming out here and getting a little bit of work in – we're treating this like a Sunday practice where it's just kind of a run through and stuff like that and finally getting some hitting tomorrow. He [Holgorsen] sets up the best plans for us," says Madsen.

The Mountaineers will be back on the practice field Saturday, but the next time media is allowed another limited view will not be until Monday.

You can check back for video from Saturday's press conferences right here on wvillustrated.com.


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