Fall camp opens Monday for Mountaineers

College Sports

Brown will split team into groups as additional safety measure for practices

WVU football begins fall camp Monday, and head coach Neal Brown has announced new safety protocols the team will follow as it prepares for the regular season. 

Most notably, players will be split into two groups — appropriately labeled the “gold group” and “blue group” — for all practices and meetings.

According to a release from WVU Athletics, players are sorted into those groups based on with whom they live and with whom they spend the most time off the field. 

“Everything is spread out,” Brown said. “The first group will basically come in and get taped, get treatment and eat breakfast. While they are at breakfast we will do our virtual position meeting there with their iPads. That will be like our install meeting.”

WVU provided an example of how these groups will operate beginning Monday. The gold group will arrive to the stadium first, eat breakfast in an outdoor dining area on the Milan Puskar Stadium concourse, while the blue group will take part in a virtual meeting.

Once the gold group wraps up breakfast and heads to the practice field, the blue group will cycle in for breakfast and treatment, and then begin pre-practice work in the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. 

Afternoon activities, such as strength training and film study, will also be staggered and conducted in groups, according to WVU Athletics. 

“The Gold and Blue Group do the same thing. It’s essentially two-a-days for the coaches,” Brown said. “This has really how we’ve been operating since we started the 20-hour rule where you get the six hours of walk-throughs, six hours of position meetings and eight hours of conditioning.”

Brown also noted that practices will be shorter than ordinary practices during a regular fall camp. 

“What we are going to do is go from a real high-intensity drill to a low-intensity drill and then back to a high-intensity drill and then to a low drill,” Brown said.

Despite the loss of its spring season, Brown said WVU benefitted from addition summer walkthroughs, which were allowed under the extended return to play model, a response to the coronavirus pandemic developed by the Division I Football Oversight Committee. 

“Now we have had 12 walkthroughs leading into fall camp so our guys, knowledge wise, are fine,” Brown said. “They just don’t have as many full-speed reps.”

The Big 12 Conference has not yet released West Virginia’s revised schedule for the 2020 season. The league announced last week that it adopted a “9+1” model that will feature nine conference games and one non-conference game for all member programs, and that conference play will likely begin in mid-to-late September. 

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