It’s Dana Holgorsen’s favorite week of the year.
No, it has nothing to do with the opponent even considering the opportunity that lies ahead for West Virginia on the road against an Oklahoma team that appears destined for the college football playoff.
But everything to do with the routine that accompanies games sandwiched around Thanksgiving week.
With classes on break and students out of town, the focus shifts entirely to football. Sure, there are breaks in between but distractions are far less and the focus is clearer.
“It has everything to do with just football and your football family,” Holgorsen said.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the team becomes the focus and it’s a week where players as well as coaches are able to bond even further during the week and on Turkey Day itself they’ll often break bread together. In a holiday tradition, players will often bring their teammates with them if they reside relatively close to Morgantown or members of the coaching staff will open their doors.
“Coaches open up their houses to their players,” Holgorsen said.
The only rule is that regardless where Thanksgiving is spent, the team was to be back in Morgantown Thursday night in time for the flight Friday morning to Norman.
“A lot of football time, football stuff,” Holgorsen said.
The Pilgrims would be proud.
West Virginia currently has 20 commitments in the 2018 class and is on pace for one of its best finishes in regards to the Rivals.com recruiting rankings in program history. The group is currently rated 18th nationally but an interesting dynamic is on the horizon.
Instead of having to sweat out signatures into February, prospects have the option to sign their letters of intent during a three-day window from Dec. 20-22 formally closing the process for those that do.
This is the initial year of the change that closely resembles what has been occurring in basketball for quite some time and while it sounds good in theory, nobody knows how it will play out.
To put it simply, it’s uncharted territory.
“I think everybody is going to be on a wait and see thing,” Holgorsen said.
However, one benefit of the period is now that coaches will be given three weeks to recruit instead of the two that were allotted the past couple seasons. That means coaches will be out on the road visiting prospects and looking to lock down which ones plan to sign and which want to wait until February.
It’s a bonus for West Virginia as well because the past two years, the Mountaineers have had games scheduled on championship weekend meaning that there was only one week to recruit left.
This allotted time is going to allow coaches to get into houses, meet with prospects and understand where they stand in regards to the strength of their pledge.
“We’ll probably have a good idea after we go out and meet and talk with them,” Holgorsen said.