Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Brown still undecided on format for Saturday’s Gold-Blue spring game

MORGANTOWN — If you have any ideas about how to format a spring football game, WVU coach Neal Brown may want to hear from you.

The fifth-year head coach of the Mountaineers said during a post-practice press conference on Saturday that he had not yet decided what the format will be for this year’s annual Gold-Blue Spring Game (Saturday, 1 p.m.).

“I left the staff meeting (Saturday) and I said ‘you all have one day then when we come back together Monday morning, I want all your ideas for the spring game,’” Brown said after the team’s 12th of 15 spring practices.

Setting up a spring game was quite simple not all that long ago. Split the roster into two teams and play a scrimmage or maybe pit offense and defense against one another, spotting the defense 20 or so points to make it competitive. The problem nowadays, according to Brown, is the number of eyes that will be watching.

“Here’s the thing that’s changed about spring games, they’re all on TV, so everybody has access to them,” Brown said. “Everybody we play in the early part of the year, the first thing they’re going to do is pull out what we did in the spring game. From a coaching perspective, you always need to think about that.”

Some programs put so little value on their spring game anymore that they’ll call them off when faced with the slightest hurdle. Houston and Missouri both canceled due to inclement weather this year and Kentucky canceled its game months ago due to field renovation.

“I do understand why they do (cancel),” Brown said. “Coaches in general are paranoid, so they get paranoid about the TV deal, which I do understand.”

Brown said the value in having a spring game comes from the opportunity fans have to see the team play in its home stadium for a cheap price. General admission tickets for Saturday’s game are only $10.

“You think about it like you’re a family and you come to a spring game, let’s say you don’t get to come to games during the fall, for whatever reason, you get really good seats and there’s a really good chance you’ll get a chance to interact with players,” Brown said. “So I think there’s definitely a place for them — I want them to be fun. I look at it like we get 14 (spring) practices as coaches and they (the fans) get that one. We’ll try to make it fun.”

Now with less than a week before Saturday’s Gold-Blue game, Brown is weighing his options on what exactly to do on Saturday that will be fun for fans to watch but that won’t give anything away to any prying eyes.

“What I always think about for the spring game is, if I was coming to watch, what would I want to see? I would want to see some type of competition,” Brown said. “We’re going to do some things that are interactive with some kids and things like that because I think that adds to it.”

In the past, spring games under Brown have always featured segments of live 11-on-11 football. That will continue this year, but to what extent is still up in the air.

“We’re not going to go out there and play four quarters of real football,” Brown clarified.

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