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Wire Reports
September 1, 2011

fball pregame walk Auburn
Tiger Walk at Auburn since 1960's

Mountaineer Mantrip to debut this weekend

Mountaineer Mantrip to debut this weekend

By Jim Workman

What separates college football from other sports is a strong sense of tradition and an unmatched sense of pride that fans even an entire state take in supporting their team and university.

West Virginia University football has one of the most loyal and fanatic fan bases in the country.

But beginning this year, the Mountaineers will add a pre-game tradition that will add a significant adrenaline boost on gameday, while honoring the state's coal mining industry.

The Mountaineers will do a walk that will be referred to as the "Mountaineer Mantrip" to the stadium, about two and a half hours before kickoff.

The approximately 300-yard walk will begin near Don Nehlen Drive and head diagonally toward the northeast entrance of Milan Puskar Stadium.

Additionally, upon entering the stadium, the players will touch apermanently erected monument with a very special piece of coal donated by Alpha Natural Resources and extracted from a West Virginia mine for additional inspiration before hitting Mountaineer Field.

"I think our fans will absolutely love it. I think our players willlove it. They'll get a jolt of energy from our fans," said WVU athletic director Oliver Luck.

"The Mountaineer Mantrip shows appreciation and respect that we have for West Virginia and its mining heritage," Luck added. "It's not just the players. It's the band, the Pride of West Virginia, the cheerleaders, the Mountaineer (mascot). We'll have honorary captains for every game and they'll be a part of it. (West Virginia Coal Association President) Bill Raney ... is giving us an historic lunchpail, which will also become part of the walk.

"As the players walk in to the northeast entrance, we will have a pretty good sized chunk of West Virginia coal, symbolizing that they're now going into their work space," Luck explained. "They're going to work, like miners do every day and have been doing for decades. They'll touch the rock of coal as they go to work. It's the blue collar mentality and attitude that we, as a team, want to have."


Experiencing gameday during any fall Saturday at Mountaineer Field is already an event with the Mountaineer firing his rifle as the players burst through an inflatable helmet with the famous flying WV logo before the game. The Pride of West Virginia marching band plays the John Denver hit "Country Roads" with more than 60,000 fans singing along following the game.

"One of the pretty cool traditions that exists at a lot of campuses is the football team walk," Luck continued. "Coach (Dana) Holgorsen really likes this idea. He brought the idea to us and deserves the credit forcoming up with it and the name. We want to create a new tradition. It's a great way for the players to appreciate how passionate and supportive our fanbase is."

Holgorsen said naming the walk "The Mantrip" wasn't a hard decision.

"It's about the state's heritage, it's about paying respect to West Virginia's coal miners and it's about recognizing the industry that drives the state," Holgorsen stated. "It will also give our fans, who I understand always show up early, a great chance to help give the players a charge and get them jacked up."


The new tradition was no doubt inspired by some already famous college football traditions.

There's the "tapping of a sign" for "luck" probably most famously done by Notre Dame Fighting Irish players who slap a placard that reads "Play Like a Champion Today" as they head out of their locker room before hitting the field.

As Clemson players enter Memorial Stadium, also known as Death Valley,they rub "Howard's Rock" and proceed to run down an incline onto the field, sending their fans into a frenzy.

That rock came from Death Valley, Calif.

Many college football teams do a "walk" through their fans gathered while tailgating on campus or their respective parking lots Auburn has its Tiger Walk, for example. Marshall began walking to Joan C.Edwards Stadium a few years ago, as well.

The Mountaineer Mantrip will begin Sept. 4 before the home opener against Marshall.

"We're planning on doing it for the first game and every game," Luck said. "We encourage people to line up along the walk. It's one of the most fun events that I have when I go to Stanford to see my son(quarterback Andrew Luck) play. Before the game, it's a time to high-five the players. It's pretty neat."

The Mountaineer Mantrip could take on a slightly different flavor each game, Luck predicted.

"For example, for the Sept. 10 Norfolk State game, we will recognize the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11 with a lot of men and women in uniform attending the game," he said. "We'll have as many uniformed personnel as we can on that mantrip as well. We'll make it fresh based on the theme of the various games that we have."

For more information on Pregame walks...
Link to ESPN/Squidoo report on "Game Walks - The Most Copied Tradition in America"


August 16, 2011 WVU looking for line depth By Dave Morrison Sports Editor The Register-Herald Tue Aug 16, 2011, 12:05 AM EDT

MORGANTOWN  he West Virginia offensive line has been a source of consternation for Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen so far in the preseason.

While talking about the backfield situation last week, Holgorsen slipped into a mini-diatribe about the offensive line.

It seems a lack of depth, and effort, got under the first-year head coach's skin.

"Unfortunately, it (competitiveness) doesn't exist at this point on the offensive line," Holgorsen said. "We've got five guys up front and then five guys that don't have any interest whatsoever in pulling ahead of the five guys in front. That was disappointing. That's about what I saw."

He knows what he has  and doesn't have, with Josh Jenkins' spring knee injury costing him this season  up front, and the veterans have not disappointed.

Senior tackle Don Barclay (6-foot-4, 291 pounds), junior guard Jeff Braun (6-4, 320) and junior center Joe Madsen (6-4, 320) have not disappointed.

Holgorsen channeled his inner Dennis Green when talking about Barclay.

"Barclay is what we thought he was; we're happy with him," Holgorsen said of the senior, who missed spring drills with an injury. "He's a good player.

"Braun was at tackle last year and is a better guard. Joe (Madsen) is a good center and is probably as good of a center as I've been around; he's a good player. At right guard, Tyler Rader, who hasn't played a whole lot, is a senior that is getting better. He's filling in where Josh (Jenkins) would've been and doing a good job of replacing him."

The job now is finding a right tackle, and depth.

Redshirt freshman Quiton Spain (6-5, 348) and redshirt sophomore Pat Eger (6-6, 296) are the top two prospects, with no experience.

"We need a right tackle and that's the biggest concern," Holgorsen said. "We have about four bodies, and we need one of them to step up. Those first four are doing good, they make plenty of mistakes, but the other six need to keep getting better."

Holgorsen said several true freshmen will likely play this year, although it's highly unlikely any will be offensive linemen.

"As mad as I get at some of the second- and third-teamers, at least they know what direction to go in," Holgorsen said. "From an offensive lineman's perspective, that's a whole other deal. We haven't taken a look at everyone yet. Coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh is working on it. You don't want one guy going one way and another guy going the other way and cause an injury."

 E-mail: demorrison@


March 3, 2010 Look at WVU depth chart reveals noteworthy moves MORGANTOWN - West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart extolled the virtues of his program, pointed to 2010 season goals, announced changes in staff assignments and released a spring depth chart Wednesday at the Milan Puskar Center. By Mitch Vingle Sports Editor Advertiser MORGANTOWN - West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart extolled the virtues of his program, pointed to 2010 season goals, announced changes in staff assignments and released a spring depth chart Wednesday at the Milan Puskar Center.

There were no major surprises during the annual spring media luncheon, but a few moves were noteworthy.

On the released depth chart, once heralded wideout Logan Heastie did not make the grade, although he was listed on the team roster. Mike Montoro, WVU director of football communications, said Heastie is dealing with "personal issues'' that includes whether to keep playing the sport. The 6-foot-2 redshirt freshman, said Montoro, is not suspended nor in academic trouble.

In regard to the staff, Stewart named Chris Beatty the team's director of recruiting, replacing Doc Holliday, now the head coach at Marshall. Beatty will continue coaching the tailbacks and slot receivers and will add the duty of coaching the fullbacks.

Stewart's team is coming off an upset loss to Florida State in the Gator Bowl, but did finish No. 25 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 22 in the coaches' poll.

"That is our fifth straight Top 25 finish,'' said the coach. "We are one of seven schools that have at least nine wins for five straight years. That is pretty powerful.''

As for this spring, the coach pointed to a few goals. Stewart said he's hoping to uncover leaders as well as a positive chemistry. He is also seeking offensive consistency.

"We need to go out and finish off our opponents,'' he said. "I want to get after people for 12 games.''

Stewart noted this is the third straight year WVU will begin with a new quarterback, probably injured Geno Smith. He added that depth along the offensive line and at receiver is a concern.

Defensively, Stewart said, "we need to get more forced fumbles.

"We only had six fumble recoveries last year,'' he said. "We were seventh in the Big East in fumble recoveries, but first with 17 interceptions. Our man coverage [also] needs to continue to get better.''

Stewart also pointed to the necessity of finding a punter to take over for Scott Kozlowski.

The head coach, by the way, also shifted his former special teams duties - with the exception of punting - to Dave McMichael and Steve Dunlap.

Among the other notable depth chart moves, sophomore Tavon Austin was switched from slot to the wideout (Z) position. With former reserve tailback Mark Rodgers gone to Cal Poly, Shawne Alston and Daquan Hargrett are listed 2-3 behind Noel Devine.

Defensively, redshirt freshman Will Clarke jumped to No. 2 at end behind Julian Miller. Ex-spur safety Sidney Glover is now at bandit. Terence Garvin is now No. 1 at strong safety.

Please see complete depth chart on Page 2B.

Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at http://twitter.com/MitchVingle.

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