Mountaineers "Bleed" for Each Other in Offseason - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers "Bleed" for Each Other in Offseason

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Last year, it was “Finish,” but a 4-8 finish wasn’t what they had in mind. During the Orange Bowl season, “Insanity” donned the hallways and t-shirts. Every season, a different word, or motto, comes to Morgantown and echoes through the hallways at the Milan Puskar Center.

This summer, the West Virginia football team can be heard saying one word amongst themselves: Bleed.

“The team has to have something to bond on. This is something that we did not come up with – it’s the players,” WVU strength coach Mike Joseph said.

The strength staff in Morgantown is still preaching “finish” as the keyword this summer, especially after the failed results in 2013, but the players have taken it upon themselves to find a word they can rally behind.

“Bleed” certainly comes with an edginess and a bold quality, but when you ask some of these Mountaineers what exactly it means, you get any number of responses. As it turns out, that’s the way they want it to be.

A single definition does not have to exist in order for the word to stick and to make a difference as it sinks in with each individual.

“It’s really something that we share amongst ourselves,” redshirt junior Terrell Chestnut said. “It has a lot of different meanings for everybody, but for me, it’s indescribable. It’s an action.”

Chestnut, a cornerback, finds his one reason to embrace “bleed” this summer, while on the other side of the ball, Clint Trickett has his own.

“B stands for believe, L is leadership [or] love, effort, execution, dedication,” Trickett said, citing an acronym rather than a definition. “Each one of us has our own little acronym for it and we’ve all bought into it and we’re all straining. We strained last year, but we’ve just got to finish games like we didn’t last year.”

In the summer months, when there is not yet a specific opponent to work on so much as bettering themselves, the student-athletes have to find a way to focus on their own. Missing a bowl game and finishing with eight losses is certainly all of the motivation these Mountaineers need, but they must channel the frustration of a year ago and make it positive during the offseason.

Creating a motto or a key phrase in May, June and July can help set the tone in the locker room when the first game week rolls around in August.

“It’s not so much that a word will make a difference, but that if we’re in a tough situation, a tough game or when you’re thinking about quitting, they might do something right or they might think of their teammates, their peers and kind of relate to that word,” Joseph said.

This summer, the players seem to be on their own with “bleed.” Sure, the coaches know that it exists, but whether it’s the strength staff or the assistants, it is clear that they had little to do with creating or defining the word that will define their team’s summer.

“Really, I don’t even know what it means, I just know it’s straining,” running backs coach JaJuan Seider said. “I guess it’s straining you out until you bleed. It’s you versus the next guy. Last one out, choke him out, bleed him out. I guess that’s what it is, but I know it’s bleed and our kids are buying into it.”

Chestnut says the word isn’t meant as a threat to an opponent, but rather a promise to a teammate.

“Bleed for each other,” Chestnut said. “We’re out here working, grinding, doing everything together. It’s knowing that you’ll go to war for the person next to you and you’ll never let them down.” 

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