Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

July 31, 2013

Media slighted as WVU camp opens

MORGANTOWN — This is the opening day of West Virginia University’s annual fall football camp.

In the wake of last year’s totally unacceptable 7-6 record and worst collapse in the program’s history, it could be one of the most important seasons. Third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff obviously will be under heavy pressure.

The Mountaineers are picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 Conference’s media preseason poll of its 10 football teams.

That’s the lowest preseason ranking since 2002 when West Virginia was selected No. 6 among eight teams in the Big East Conference.

But the 2002 Mountaineers surprised by winding up with a 7-4 record, including 6-1 in the conference standings.

Can Holgorsen and Co. produce similar pleasing results in 2013?

It should be interesting to see after what happened following the great 5-0 season’s start and No. 5 national ranking in 2012.

That team dropped six of its last eight contests, including a third straight loss to Syracuse.

In the meantime, don’t expect media types who report on WVU football to offer you much of a factual projection of this year’s squad until you see for yourself until after the season’s start.

While the Mountaineers have about 15 days of camp practice sessions, 10 will be closed to the media. And on those five days the camp is open, coach Holgorsen has allowed just a half hour from 5-5:30 p.m. (which happens to be my dinner time at Heritage Point Village).

However, I wouldn’t have gone to Mountaineer Field/Mylan Puskar Stadium on any of those measly five 30-minute evenings anyway. Why? Because the players merely will be going through exercises under coach Mike Joseph’s direction.

But Holgorsen has seen fit to meet with the media at 10:30 a.m. some days, and he’s making available players and assistant coaches for morning interviews during the fall camp.

It is certainly his right as head coach to run his camp as he chooses. But it’s extremely more secretive — and most certainly less accessible to the media — then at least a dozen or more head football coaches with which I’ve worked the past 67 years at my alma mater.

Even Mylan Puskar Center is difficult to get into without invitation. Doors at the two main entrances are locked daily, reportedly at Holgorsen’s command.

Yes, there is a person opening the door to media types on days football interims are scheduled.

But locking those two doors (again, which his predecessors never did) prevents WVU fans and other visitors from seeing a public Hall of Traditions display inside.

That hardly helps build a slipping WVU fan base which has lost 4,000 or more season football buyers.

Does that make sense?

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MICKEY FURFARI