WVU Shares Trophy, Looks Ahead to 2012 Goals - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Shares Trophy, Looks Ahead to 2012 Goals

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MORGANTOWN -

Bob Huggins said two years ago that if his team were able to win a national title, he would send the trophy around the state on a bus, starting in Jane Lew.

It's not quite a tour of the Mountain State, but the WVU football team is doing its best to let Mountaineer fans in Morgantown become a part of the Orange Bowl victory.

Before the basketball team beat Rutgers a few weeks back, the trophy was available for photos at the Coliseum and on Wednesday, it made its way to the Mountainlair, WVU's student union.

"It shows me how much this actually means," says Geno Smith, who posed with some fans alongside the trophy. "You always get the chance to hear about it means so much, but the fact that people are still celebrating this game a couple weeks after the victory, it shows how much it means to the state."

It wasn't the entire team and coaching staff like was greeted on the Coliseum floor at halftime of West Virginia's overtime win over Cincinnati, but this was a more intimate experience for the handful of players who showed up to celebrate with their peers – other WVU students.

"It means a lot because a lot of the fans didn't get to actually come to the game, so just to show them support after all the support they've given us is a good thing," says running back Shawne Alston. "At the same time, we can't live on this moment forever."

Smith and Alston combined to have a hand in each of the Mountaineers' nine offensive touchdowns in that 70-33 rout. They have reason to be excited about what they accomplished in Miami and the fans have reason to flock to any opportunity to greet them and their prize.

But nearly a month has passed since that game. The coaching staff is working on solidifying the future via a strong signing class and the players are already beginning to prepare for the upcoming season with workouts and the like.

An Orange Bowl victory is great, but if you follow Coach Huggins' logic, only a national title trophy deserves to be paraded around the state.

"As for us as players, we're working on bigger and better things. We have a goal in mind and we're going to continue to work until we get it," says Smith.

This is a team that had all the confidence in the world last spring, despite a number of distractions regarding the head coaching position. The offseason is the time for goals to take shape and groundwork to be laid so that games like Syracuse and Louisville do not happen again.

Coming off a Champs Sports Bowl loss, there was a limit to that excitement and confidence this time last year. Set all sorts of records in a BCS blowout, and there are far fewer reasons to hold anything back.

There are still some questions regarding staff changes, including final positions being filled and whether or not an offensive assistant finds his way to the other side of the ball, but until those things become official, the athletes on the team are worried about what they can do to get better individually.

"The good thing is the offense is set," says Smith. "I feel for those defensive guys because we're out there doing 7-on-7s and getting in work and they don't really know what kind of defense [they're running], but it's all good."

Meanwhile, the trophy sits as a reminder of what the Mountaineers can do if clicking all at the same time.

About 45 miles down I-79, the people of Jane Lew wait patiently for their state's flagship institution to take a big bus to exit 105 and share a trophy that would mean far too much to reserve for Morgantown.  

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