It's not only Mountaineer fans that are looking forward to the "newness" of the Big 12 Conference. Defensive End Will Clarke confirms that he and his teammates have a heightened sense of motivation this summer due to the increase in expectations.
"Honestly, I think it has everything to do joining the Big 12," Clarke explains. "We care about everyone else's high expectations of us joining a new conference, but we also have high expectations of ourselves. We would like to come right in and be successful."
He goes on to explain that although summer workouts seem even more intense than years before, he forces himself to look at that as a positive thing that will benefit him greatly when it comes to real time, game situations.
The Pittsburgh native explains that even though it is summer break for most, for this 269-pound Redshirt Junior, he is busy trying to better every aspect of his game.
"As a Defensive Line, we have been working on individual things like going through cones, retracing steps and coming off the edge with the bags. We are just trying to mimic game skills. All of the lineman have been boxing for conditioning to work on getting our hands right and our stamina up," Clarke said.
Clarke returns to talking about one thing..."newness". This time he is not referring to the conference change, but continuing to talk about how incorporating new workouts, such as boxing, brings a renewed energy to training and competing.
All in all, whether it is the fresh outlook of the Big 12 or the revamped approach to working out, Clarke seems ready to make an impact in a big way this season.
"Everyone has so much ambition to be better this season. It is not just an older guy type of thing or the younger guys coming in and doing their own thing. I feel like as a collective whole we are trying to grow as a team."
Come September 1st, college football fans around the country will get to see if this desire for success in the summer will be reflected in Mountaineers' first season in the Big 12.