Quick Hits: Syracuse Notes from First NYC Practice - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Quick Hits: Syracuse Notes from First NYC Practice


Pinstripe Bowl practice kicked off in New York City on Wednesday with a Syracuse morning session from Columbia University's Robert K. Kraft Field. The weather forecast isn't too appealing here in the city, so West Virginia's practice that had been scheduled to take place at Fordham University later today has been pushed indoors.

It's unclear at this point if the Mountaineers will be practicing at Hofstra's indoor facility or in a ballroom at the team's hotel. That practice will be closed to the media, but Dana Holgorsen will take questions this evening at Yankee Stadium prior to hearing from coordinators and select players from both WVU and Syracuse. Here are a few notes from a cold morning practice for the Orange:

-       It was quite cold, but the worst of the weather is due in the coming hours. I found my camera lens fogging up and as I began to blow on my hands to keep them warm, Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone sidled up next to me and said, "Cold? You should be used to this in Morgantown."

True, Coach, but you happen to be wearing gloves and a puffy jacket.

His quarterback, however, was dressed as though a heat wave had hit the city. Senior Ryan Nassib was the only Orange, aside from a kicker, who didn't have extra layers on his arms or legs. No. 12 sported his normal practice attire and perhaps it made sense as left guard Zack Chibane said Syracuse had been outdoors back on campus in far colder conditions.

-       Keon Lyn, a junior corner for the Orange, hails from a high school that has become quite familiar with the Mountaineer program of late. He attended Miramar High School along with Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey, Terence Gourdine, D'Vontis Arnold and former WVU receiver Ivan McCartney.

He said he hasn't talked to his former teammates leading up to the bowl game, which he feels is better to keep up the rivalry. But then, asked for his thoughts on that rivalry, he responded with this:

"I don't really consider it a rivalry. They probably do because we beat them in the last two years, so it's probably important for them to get the win and it's important for us to keep winning against them."

Sounds like something destined for a bulletin board.

-       Alec Lemon, Nassib's favorite target at wide receiver, is familiar with another Mountaineer. Hailing from Maryland, he played in all-star games with senior linebacker Terence Garvin and he shared a flight to the city with the WVU defender.

No slouch in his senior season with 1,063 yards and seven touchdowns on 70 receptions, Lemon said he's heard plenty of talk about WVU's offensive weapons and is looking forward to the opportunity to prove his own unit's worth in a nationally televised showing.

"I feel like my whole life, I've flown under the radar," he said. "So it would be nice flying under the radar for the game, come out there and show the world what we're really all about and since we're being overlooked, it should be excited."

-       David Stevens has fond memories of playing WVU's defense. Sure, it wasn't the same coaching staff or personnel that roams the sidelines this season, but he played a position that did serious damage to the Mountaineers.

Stevens finished the game with two receptions for 34 yards and his only touchdown for the whole season, while his teammate, Nick Provo, destroyed WVU for 61 yards and three scores on six receptions.

"That was my big game of the season. That was Provo's big game of the season," Stevens said. "It wasn't necessarily tight ends, it was just the scheme. Things happened to be open in certain areas of the defense and for whatever reason, we just had their number. A lot of things were open. Not just the tight ends, a lot of people were open."

-       Zack Chibane, a part of the teams that have kept the Schwartzwalder Trophy out of WVU's hands the past two seasons, chatted with us about the excitement leading up to a game that features two prolific passers. But I was curious if he agreed with his program's decision not to put the Schwartzwalder Trophy on the line and instead focus on the Pinstripe Bowl's Steinbrenner Trophy as the prize. His answer was exactly what I expected.

"No comment there," Chibane said, laughing. "I don't want to comment on that."

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