The Dominion Post  

WVU football players have chance to enjoy Thanksgiving

Created on:   Wed, Nov 22, 2017   4:38 PM

Last modified:   Wed, Nov 22, 2017   4:38 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen isn’t shy about saying what his favorite week of the season is, and it has nothing to do with the Mountaineers facing No. 3 Oklahoma on the road.

With today being Thanksgiving, there are traditions that always stick out — turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, family and football.

“It’s a football week and there’s less distractions,” Holgorsen said. “It has everything to do with football and your football family and spending a little bit more time with each other.”

With no classes at WVU because of the holiday break, the team spent most of its time around the practice facility preparing to take on the Sooners.

But today will be a little different than the rest of the week. There will be a morning practice, but Holgorsen said the players are free to do whatever they want the rest of the day.

“We’ll practice our guys until about 1 (p.m.), and then they need to go and enjoy Thanksgiving,” he said.

That can include a variety of things, since some players who come from far away don’t have the option of going home. A few players will invite teammates over to their place or some will go away with their girlfriends.

Holgorsen mentioned that linebacker Dylan Tonkery, a Bridgeport native, will probably head home.

Others will, instead, have their family come to them.

“I actually just moved from my previous place to my new place, so I’m having a whole bunch of family coming up,” defensive end Reese Donahue said. “My mom is really excited because she’s coming up. She doesn’t get to come up a whole lot because she lives in Florida now, but I’ll get to have everyone here together in my new place, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Donahue went with scalloped potatoes as his favorite Thanksgiving food, while most of his teammates went for another cheesy option. David Long, Al-Rasheed Benton and Colton McKivitz all said macaroni and cheese.

Benton, getting set to play his final regular-season game with the Mountaineers, is a “fat boy at heart,” so Thanksgiving is one of his favorite days of the year.

“You get good food and you get good football — the best of both worlds,” he said. “It’s always a great day to be around your family and have a great time. There’s not much else going on, so it’s a good time to focus on those three things.”

Since Benton left his home in Newark, N.J., five years ago, it’s been a difficult transition for his mother, Kim.

“The last three years I was at home, my brother and I would do the cooking to take the load off of my mom,” he said, “so I’m pretty sure she’s a little upset that I’m gone because she’s been doing the cooking lately.”

Still, all fun must come to an end, and Holgorsen said all players must be back by tonight as the team leaves Friday for Norman, Okla.

But no player should go unfed.

“Guys that don’t have anywhere to go — we know we have a whole lot of people that aren’t from here that are from a variety of places — coaches open up their houses to players, and a lot of players go over,” Holgorsen said. “They are going to have plenty of opportunities to eat.”