WVU Prepares for Home Away from Home - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Prepares for Home Away from Home


James Madison coach Mickey Matthews continues to talk publicly as though his teams have never beaten an FBS opponent, while West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen would have you believe he is preparing for one of the toughest games of the year.

What the two can agree on is where the game will be played, though even that fact gives the WVU coach a moment of hesitation.

Holgorsen was asked if the team would have any pregame walk into the stadium similar to what it does at home with the Mountaineer Mantrip. It may have seemed like an illogical question given that the game is outside of Morgantown, but with its "home" designation, the inquiry made sense.

"It's a home game, isn't it?" Holgorsen admitted before retreating. "We'll treat it like a road game. We'll treat it just like a road game, we'll travel like a road game, our hotel routine will be like a road game. What we do the night before, what we do the day of, we'll treat the whole thing like a road game."

Oliver Luck did not schedule this meeting to be a road game, though. The proximity to Morgantown, combined with the strong alumni base in the region, makes the Washington, D.C. area an attractive one for such a matchup.

Whether it is this game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. or next year's meeting with Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Holgorsen intends to take advantage of the opportunities presented by playing at professional stadiums during the regular season.

"It is important to us to have a presence over there," Holgorsen said. "It is important too, recruiting-wise. It is important to the 20 or so kids from that area. Oliver [Luck] and Dr. Clements have looked at it as important. We have switched conferences and will be playing a lot of games in the Southwest and Midwest, so this is important for us. In the Big East, we played over there three times a year. We want to have a presence."

Recruiting is a big part of many decisions made at the college level these days. How will (insert idea here) impact how high school athletes view our program? That is a question constantly circulating through football offices and keeping coaches and administrators up at night analyzing the potential answers.

This particular idea should work in the favor of the Mountaineers' staff simply because of the way they can handle visits from prospects.

While the coaches do lose the physical benefits of a home game, having home rules in another state can provide an edge. Recruits in that region will have a shorter distance to travel to see WVU in action and can still do so partially on the school's dime.

"We're the home team, so we're able to distribute tickets to recruits, we can just have no contact with them," Holgorsen explains. "So, as guys call in as they do each and every week for a home game and request tickets, we can give the guys up to two tickets. The difference is we can't have contact with them, which obviously if it's a home game on your campus, you can have contact with them."

The drawbacks exist, including the fact that there will likely not be the game day atmosphere that accompanies a game at Milan Puskar Stadium, but the rewards may outweigh those drawbacks.

With all the focus on recruiting for this weekend, there is the question of whether or not WVU will pull out the ultimate recruiting tool these days and wear its new uniforms. Holgorsen wasn't quite ready to say whether or not the team's gray digs could make an appearance this weekend.

After all, the team's captains make that choice, not the head coach.

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