Under normal, non-global pandemic circumstances, the month of March in the sports world would mean that basketball tournaments would be in full swing, and baseball and softball fields and tennis courts alike would be abuzz with activity. Even with spring sports in full swing, however, traditionally the spring is a time to look head to football season as college campuses are also alive with spring football activities.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
Under normal, non-global pandemic circumstances, the month of March in the sports world would mean that basketball tournaments would be in full swing, and baseball and softball fields and tennis courts alike would be abuzz with activity.  Even with spring sports in full swing, however, traditionally the spring is a time to look head to football season as college campuses are also alive with spring football activities.
The spring and spring football in particular are the first glimpse many will get of what the fall football season will bring. It’s a chance to both look back at the year before, but more importantly look ahead to the future, at least as far as existing athletic stock is concerned. Of course spring football generally does not include the new influx of players that will be available as incoming freshmen, though some do arrive on campuses early.
Nonetheless, the sports media departments of colleges and universities spend a great deal of time developing and putting out information to the media to wet everyone’s whistle as they thirst for information pertaining to what is happening in the off season. West Virginia University is no different, and on Friday, March 20, the Mountaineers released their 2020 WVU Football prospectus.
There is a tremendous amount of information available in the prospectus, from historical information and records, background information on coaches and players, and a look ahead of who is returning at each position and who is on the way as new players.  
So what can be learn from WVU’s 2020 Prospectus? For starters, there’s the fact that West Virginia University was founded in 1867, began playing football in 1891, and has an all-time record of 755-504-45 for a winning percentage of .596.  The Mountaineers have an all-time post-season bowl record of 15-22 for a winning percentage of .405, with the last bowl appearance being in 2018’s Camping World Bowl.
West Virginia University has a current enrollment of 29,933, and the Mountaineers play at Mountaineer Field in Milan Puskar Stadium, which has a listed capacity of 60,000 seats.  The president of the university is Dr. G. Gordon Gee and the athletic director is Shane Lyons, a 1997 WVU grad.
WVU football is led by head coach Neal Brown, a native of Danville, Kentucky, who will be in his second season steering the Mountaineer ship. Brown compiled a first year record of 5-7 but has an overall head coaching record of 40-23 in five years, most recently with Troy University. Brown is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees, is currently 40 years old, married, and the father of three school-aged children, ages 12, 9 and 5.
West Virginia’s assistant head coach (and offensive line coach) is Matt Moore, a graduate of Valdosta State. The defensive coordinator is Vic Koenning, a Kansas State graduate.  The offensive coordinator (and wide receiver coach) is Gerad Parker, a graduate of the University of Kentucky.
The Mountaineers will play a 2020 schedule that consists of Big 12 opponents Kansas State, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State.  The non-conference schedule includes the first three games of the season against Florida State, Eastern Kentucky and Maryland.
On offense, the Mountaineers must replace starters quarterback Jack Allison, wide receiver George Campbell, tight end Jovani Haskins, running backs Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway and Logan Thimons, and offensive linemen Colton McKivitz, Josh Sills and Kelby Wickline.  
Returners with starting experience on offense include offensive linemen Chase Behrndt, Michael Brown, James Gmiter, John Hughes and Briason Mays, tight end Mike O’Laughlin, wide receivers Sam James, Ali Jennings, Sean Ryan, T.J. Simmons, Bryce Wheaton and Winston Wright, running backs Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield, and quarterback Austin Kendall.
On defense, the Mountaineers must replace starters cornerbacks Hakeem Bailey, Josh Norwood and Keith Washington, linebackers Shea Campbell and Zach Sandwisch, safety JoVanni Stewart, and defensive linemen Reese Donahue, Reuben Jones and Quondarious Qualls.
Returning with starting experience on defense include linebackers Charlie Benton, Josh Chandler, Exree Loe and Dylan Tonkery, cornerback Nicktroy Fortune, safeties Noah Guzman, Sean Mahone, Kerry Martin Jr. and Tykee Smith, and defensive linemen Jordan Jefferson, Jeffrey Pooler Jr., Dante Stills and Darius Stills.
On special teams, the Mountaineers return kickers Evan Staley and Casey Legg.
The Mountaineers enjoyed a relatively successful season last year but there is certainly room for improvement really in all facets of the game. More and more, as Coach Neal Brown puts his stamp on things, the Mountaineers should improve steadily year by year.
 “Trust the climb”? As we look towards year two, everyone is trusting. To keep trusting, however, we’ll have to see continued improvement in year two.
It’s just spring time, there is much time ahead for analysis.