The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

August 25, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN- Your favorite things about WVU football

MORGANTOWN — Summer has melted away and football season has crept upon us, West Virginia football is now less than a week away, so close you can feel the anticipation in the air. Campus is alive with returning college students and a group of freshmen about to learn just what this thing called college life is all about.

A big part of it, of course, begins with this noon opener on Saturday against William & Mary, a game that holds no promise of being closely contested, yet that takes absolutely nothing away from it.

In fact, an informal and highly unsophisticated poll among nearly 4,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter taken Friday and Saturday would seem to indicate that football at West Virginia is far more a social event than a sporting contest, and if the results have any meaning at all, they would make you wonder why the band director Jay Drury isn’t paid at least the equivalent of football coach Dana Holgorsen.

Or more.

First, let us explain exactly how we conducted our poll. Both days, on the social media, we asked simply for the public’s three favorite things about West Virginia football. It was left vague to elicit an answer on any aspect of the football experience, from seeing Tavon Austin run with the ball to Zul’s Frozen Lemonade.

To give you an idea of how the poll went, Zul’s Lemonade got one more vote than did Austin.

In all, there were 35 responses and they cast a picture of what West Virginia football is all about … that it really isn’t about the playing of the game.

Many of the answers could be considered overlapping. For example, the No. 1 response on 13 of the 37 ballots was tailgating.

But when you consider that the No. 2 answer involved coming together with friends and family, that drawing 10 responses, you can surmise that involves tailgating … with a little bit more than just beer and burgers.

Consider a couple of the responses:

Tom Koon’s No. 1 answer was “Sharing my love for Mountaineer Football with my kids (We drive up from N.C. for a game almost every year)”

 Sgt. John Mark Thompson used a couple of Tweets to say “It’s a chance to pass on the WVU legacy to my son despite miles and years removed from the Mountain State. It’s a way to be back in W.Va. on a fall Saturday listening to a WVU radio broadcast with my grandfather one more time.”

The experience of West Virginia football is that special, and not just with fans.

Jeff Braun was a starting guard on last year’s team, not out there in the real world, but he thought he should offer a response.

His No. 1 answer was “The great people of the state coming together for one purpose.”

His No. 2 answer was “the atmosphere.”

Braun is a Mountaineer through and through, even if he did come to Morgantown from Maryland.

To Jennelle Jones it was “memories of watching games with my dad” that grabbed her, memories you cannot replace.

But if even once you leave the Blue Lot and the tailgate, so much of Mountaineer football grabs you before the opening kickoff.

In truth, if you put it together, the band is probably the most popular thing about WVU football, for not only did eight pollsters mention playing “Simple Gifts” at halftime but that same number mentioning the post-game rendition of “Country Roads.”

One person called “Simple Things” and the formation of the state “spine-tingling” and another said “nothing beats ‘Simple Gifts’ at halftime.”

Mountaineer football is more than just tailgating and relationships. It is tradition and fans devour that with love.

The fans like the old … Jack Fleming’s scene setters and the team running out onto “old Mountaineer Field” … to the new, Tony Caridi’s play-by-play and beer, presumed to be the beer now being sold in the stadium.

From the team coming out of the tunnel, which we’re told is being changed this year but drew nine votes, to the Mountaineer shooting off his musket, lower than you may have thought with only four votes, to the first down cheer and the “Let’s go … Mountaineers” chant, the fans wrap themselves up in having fun within the stadium.

But such things as the game itself were overlooked … one vote for the opening kickoff, to match a vote for being out in the morning air; and the “Man Walk” that they have tried to make into a tradition received the same one vote that watching “Dana’s reaction to every call” received.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos