This is the time that thousands of sports fans await each year — the opening of football training camps. Whether it’s the Mountaineers, Falcons or their favorite high school teams, all squads are still 0-0 and expectations usually are always high. Rich Rodriguez has a goal of keeping his WVU team playing at the same high level of the 2005 squad, while Rusty Elliott is hoping his Fighting Falcons can turn their game up another notch and get that elusive first winning season. ...

We hope all the pressure being placed on the Mountaineers for an unbeaten season does not backfire. One game we are particularly worried about doesn’t take place until Nov. 2. That’s when WVU visits Louisville, and you can bet coach Bobby Petrino has that date circled on his calendar. That 46-44 three-overtime loss at WVU last October was very difficult to absorb, and one knows he’s looking forward to pay-back time. Louisville quarterback Brian Brohn was the Big East offensive player of the year last season and he’s back, also. And Mississippi State could be a sleeper down South. ...

North Marion coach Gerry White probably will deserve the NCAC Coach of the Year award in 2006 if he can keep his 21-man Husky squad together over a 10-game season. North Marion’s situation is an embarrassment. Nine or 10 years ago, the Huskies were state champions! How does a team go from a state powerhouse to not having enough members to scrimmage? ...

A headline from The Dominion Post the other day read “NCAC football buzz all about Polar Bears.” We think the NCAC would still be a buzz about the Morgantown Mohigans, but who knows? Maybe the Polar Bears will be the team to break that long winning streak Coach John Bowers is taking into the 2006 season. The Polar Bears take a veteran squad into the new campaign — led by quarterback Kyle Allard, running back Jerry Kelly and receiver Ben Kettering. ...

Could 2006 finally be the breakthrough year for East Fairmont to end its long playoff drought that extends back to the mid-70s? Let’s hope so. Billy Haddox has some excellent talent to work with this fall, and everyone is hoping that talent can translate into victories. ...

For those of us who probably have never had 28 birdies in our lifetime, Tiger Woods’ 50th golfing victory of his PGA career over the weekend in the Buick Open seems even more awesome. And how about four successive 66s? Those 28 birdies in the event led to those amazing scores. How many times has a golfer put together four 66s? Remember a few weeks back when the golfing world was wondering if the 30-year-old Tiger might be “over the hill” just because he failed to make the cut in the U.S. Open for the first time? ...

One should note that Woods has won nearly a fourth of his 210 PGA Tour events in achieving his 50th victory. The great Jack Nicklaus won his 50th title in his 280th start. Woods became only the seventh member of the PGA Tour’s 50-win club. ...

Pirates relief pitcher Salomon Torres was elated at not being traded. “I’m the happiest guy in the world,” he said when he found himself still on the Pittsburgh roster following the trading deadline. “This is where I want to be. I believe in this team, in these players.” ... Bob Hertzel, The Dominion Post sports editor, received a 2006 All-Star ring along with the players, coaches and managers. Bob was the official scorer for the game. Bob “moonlights” as official scorer for a number of Pirates games each summer. That’s nice work if you can get it. ...

J.R. House, a backup quarterback on the 2005 Mountaineer squad, was recently elevated to Class AAA Round Rock in the Houston organization. House batted .327 at San Antonio, which was the third highest average in the Texas League. He’s a real good guy and WVU fans wish him well in his return to baseball. ...

Jim Leyland’s Detroit Tigers remain the surprise team in all of baseball. And Leyland admits the level of team success has exceeded Leyland’s expectations from spring training. The Tigers have already surpassed their victory total for all of 2005 (71). “I thought we’d be good,” Leyland said. “I thought we’d make considerable improvement. I never thought we’d be exactly in this position.”

E-mail John Veasey at jcveasey@timeswv.com.

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