MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sandwiched between two closed Saturday scrimmages exists one of the busiest and most hectic weeks for WVU football.
It is the first week of school.
“This is the toughest week as far as physicality, mental toughness, all of those type of things,” head coach Neal Brown said. “This will be the toughest week that we have.”
The team had an off day Sunday following Saturday’s scrimmage in which some starters and second-teamers took over 50 live reps in full pads at Milan Puskar Stadium. They started week three with a high-intensity practice on Monday, and they’ll do the same on Tuesday morning, all before classes start on Wednesday.
“It is about continuously challenging them to make sure that we’re not just getting through this, but we’re getting better because of it,” he said.
Thursday will be the first “hard” day of practice that coincides with classes, so players will have more on their plate than at any point in the summer. Brown is looking to see who handles the pressure, and who can thrive in it.
“This where the separation happens,” Brown said. “It’s get a little hard. It gets a little hairy. You kind of see what people are about.”
The reason Brown believes in pushing his players at this point in camp is that he wants WVU to be at its “performance peak” for the season opener at Penn State. With a harder week taking place a few weeks out, the team is more likely to stay healthy and have ample recovery time before matching the same pace on the first game week.
“This is a critical week,” Brown said. “It’s a critical week and we need to be hard on them. We need to be tough on them, and we got to get some callouses this week so we can be ready to go.”