Mountaineers Forget the Past, Look to Future - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers Forget the Past, Look to Future

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Michael Ploger, MORGANTOWN -

The West Virginia Mountaineers football team is coming off a record-breaking season that was one to remember.  However, for the players and coaches, it's time to forget all about it.

It's the start of a new chapter in WVU football as this 2012 team looks ahead to a new challenge.  It's time for a new conference, new teammates, and new goals for a team that accomplished big things just under a year ago.

Head Coach Dana Holgorsen is entering his sophomore season at the helm.  People could praise him for the things he has done, but for him, it's time to focus on what's happening right now.

"I tried to bury 2011 when 2012 opened up," says Holgorsen.  "2011 was fun but it's over and there's nothing that happened from 2011 that can help us in 2012."

In other words, bye-bye 10 wins bye-bye conference championship,  and bye-bye recording breaking 70-point performance in the Discover Orange Bowl to close the season, for now anyway.

Then again, a lot has changed for West Virginia University since January.  The school is now a part of a football powerhouse conference, which holds six schools in the AP Top 25 Preseason Poll released last week.  The SEC was the only other conference to have as many teams in the rankings.

It's not just the new opponents WVU will be battling in 2012, but it's also the new faces involved of players who are continuing to grow.  And the seniors on this year's team are soaking up everything while they still can.

Wide receiver J.D. Woods has stood out so far in practice and has been mentioned by Coach Holgorsen as a likely starter.  This is his senior year after all, so it's now or never for the Florida native.  When asked if it's hit him yet, he says it definitely has.

"I think about it each and every day I step out on that field," Woods says.  "I don't have too many more chances out here, so I just want to prove to West Virginia nation that I can play."

It looks as though Woods will be on the field with standout freshman Jordan Thompson, who arrived in Morgantown last January.  Devonte Robinson, Travares Copeland, Will Johnson and nine other receivers could be seeing their first live college football action this year.

Woods knows what it's like to be a freshman and the hard times that can develop, as he originally redshirted when he first got to Morgantown.  However, he urges his young teammates to keep a positive outlook and to keep working hard.

"I just want to keep their confidence level up because I understand it's easy to get down on yourself," he mentioned.   "Especially at the wide out position, one dropped ball can have your whole confidence level down for the entire practice.  I take it upon myself to keep their head up, and also keep my head up."

Last year, the Mountaineers struggled in the last three games of the regular season.  They beat those opponents by a combined total of seven points.  It could be said that players were good at keeping their heads up, as everyone remembers their performance against Clemson in the final game of the year.  But again, both players and coaches have the mindset that it's all about what's happening right now.

"I haven't talked about it since it was over with," said wide receivers coach Shannon Dawson about last year.  "Other than to tell them that look, that team and this team is two different teams.  I don't think anybody talks about."

Sept. 1 will mark the beginning of the new era for this football team, as well as the start of high expectations.  The question is if this team can create similar success in a conference that is far from familiar.

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