MORGANTOWN West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen has a different take on Saturday's annual Gold-Blue game than does his players.
"I would challenge you to find one coach across the country that gets a kick out of the spring game," he said following Tuesday's practice. "You've got to do it. We want to do it for the fans."
Holgorsen said he knows the players get a kick out of the game because "they get to put their nice uniforms on, and they get to go out there in front of a bunch of people and try to make a play."
The game starts at 6 p.m., and it will be preceded by the alumni scrimmage game. Several other events, including a concert and autograph session will be held leading up to the game.
"It's the end of spring (practice), and we want to get out healthy," Holgorsen said. "We want it to be festive, and we want everyone to kind of get a glimpse of the younger players more than anything."
The game will be of a similar format as last year. The first team offense will go against the second team defense, and the second team offense will battle the first team defense.
If you go
When: Saturday at 6 p.m.
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium
The offense will get points for its scores, while the defense will be awarded points for stopping the offense.
"That gets distorted very quickly," the coach said. "We will attempt to go with that format early, but then you are running people on and off the field from a defensive line perspective and a receiver perspective. It will look like the same people out there quite a bit."
Which is just fine for the players, most of whom are still wanting to bring back that Orange Bowl excitement.
"I'm so excited to get in front of the fans," offensive lineman Pat Eger said. "I know they are super, super excited about seeing what this new defense can do and especially if the offense is going to come back right where they left off at the Orange Bowl."
Saturday will be linebacker Jared Barber's first spring game. He started several games last fall as a true freshman after arriving on campus in August. He looks at the game as a chance to earn even more playing time.
"You approach it as a practice, with it being the first spring with the new (defensive) coaches," Barber said. "You also approach it as a game to have fun with the guys. You have to prove yourself as well. There's no spot set in stone."
The game also raises funds for the West Virginia University Children's Hospital, something receiver Ryan Nehlen said he learned to appreciate.
"As I've been here the past few years as an athlete, I've been able to visit several times and see the kids," he said. "It's great that the proceeds go to it. It puts things in perspective."