Mock week is in full swing for the Mountaineers football team. The players were made available to the media Tuesday afternoon. After hearing head coach Dana Holgorsen speak about his desire for the time to create the routines his team will settle into for the season during mock week.
Holgorsen’s players seem to be focused and more business-like than in years past. There are goals these players want to achieve, and from the looks of the first few weeks of practice, the players want to grab as much success this season as possible.
Redshirt junior linebacker David Long, Jr. is focused on what he can do to improve the defense and help to lead younger players on the team.
“Chemistry. As a defense, that’s what we’ve been talking about, homing in on that. To play together out there with everybody being selfless, we just want to play off each other and play for each other,” Long said.
Ezekiel Rose, senior defensive lineman, knows that the mock week is important for everyone to start to focus on the tasks at hand for the season, saying “I feel like it will get everybody in the right mindset for a game. It will get them ready to go and ready to see what they’re going to see on gameday, in game week. It’s a very important process.”
Rose also points out that the defense is a more cohesive unit going into this season, something that will help the team to work together during those critical minutes during the game.
“There’s a lot more trust. We trust the new guys and the younger guys a lot more than we did last year,” Rose said. “I feel like that plays a much bigger role in how we talk with one another and communicate, because we’re able to give different aspects of things to each other, instead of everybody trying to look at things one, solid way.”
Starting quarterback and arguably the biggest leader for the team, Will Grier, echoes his head coach’s sentiments on the importance of mock week. Grier is known for his ability to sink into the rhythm and routine of football season and give it all 150% percent, traits his teammates are picking up and emulating going into the fall.
“It’s really important, especially for guys that are new – transfers, guys that hadn’t played last year or guys that haven’t played college football before. It just teaches you how to practice, how to prepare and how a week will look,” Grier said. “That way, when you get to game week, you’re rolling and you understand what’s going on, and you can just focus on being the best you can be out there.”
This year’s team has been very talked about during the pre-season so far. There are times that the chatter can get into players’ heads, but judging from the last few weeks of practice and the mentality of mock week, the players are focused and ready to tackle the tasks of each of their work season.
This time next week, the Mountaineers will be preparing for the first business trip of the season, heading to Charlotte to take on the Volunteers.