MORGANTOWN - Fans will get their first glimpse of the new offense installed this spring by coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen when the annual Gold-Blue Game kicks off Friday at Mountaineer Field.
The events start at 7 p.m. with an West Virginia University old-timers' game, and the varsity will take the field around 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $10, and half of the proceeds will be given to WVU Children's Hospital.
"As a quarterback, you want to make big plays," said Geno Smith. "But you never want to put the ball into the defense's hands and put your team in a bad situation."
The Inter-Mountain Photo by John Wickline
West Virginia University wide receiver Stedman Bailey pulls in a pass during spring practice. The Mountaineer football team will conclude spring drills Friday night with the annual Gold-Blue scrimmage game at 7 p.m.
Smith said he hopes the offense can showcase its new style before the paying crowd, a crowd that already knows what the defense is capable of.
"We want to put up points," he said. "Everybody is coming out, and they want to see our best. We have to be able to show we can handle down-and-distance and other different situations."
The game will pit the offensive unit against the defense unit, continuing a tradition started several years ago that went away from dividing up the team into two equal parts. Wide receiver Stedman Bailey said the scrimmage game which marks the end of spring practice will show the team what improvements need to be made when practice starts again in August.
He's hoping it shows more to the defense, as he wants to show the crowd an offensive explosion.
"This offense has had so much hype, we should run up the score," Bailey said.
Tavon Austin is also hoping to cash in on some big plays, saying he has a lot of his friends and family coming to the game.
"Hopefully, I'll make a couple of plays," Austin said. "Hopefully, we can get a couple good balls. If everyone gets a couple of balls, then we can show everyone what we can do."
But linebacker Najee Goode said he hopes the defense, which lost seven starters from last year's nationally acclaimed unit, will have something to show for its spring efforts.
"We don't have all 11 of us from last year, but we still have a good chunk and have young guys stepping up," he said. "We could be just as good as last year. We just really have to work at it.
"We're still adding on, and there's a lot of stuff that we can change up as far as blitzes and everything like that," Goode added. "I think we've learned everything. It's just a matter of getting better at it."