Mountaineers preparing to leave home for lst time

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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- The road can be a daunting place for a visiting football team, or its biggest motivator.

West Virginia (2-0) is preparing this week for its first road game this season -- a noon kickoff against Maryland (1-0) at College Park, Md., and coach Dana Holgorsen is eager to see how his team responds to its first road test.

"Yeah, I'm excited. We'll talk about it all week. You've got to play a bunch of road games and put yourself in hostile situations if you're going to have success," said Holgorsen. "I like road games. The routine typically is the same as a home game. You go to the locker room at the same time, put your stuff on the same way and go out there and play."

West Virginia won at Byrd Stadium, 31-17, in 2007 and is 11-11-1 there overall.

  • Who: No. 18 West Virginia (2-0) vs. Maryland (1-0).x
  • When: Noon.
  • Where: Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.
  • TV: ESPNU.

This time, the Mountaineers will arrive with an offense that has shown flashes of greatness but still has some kinks to work out and a defense that has not been tested by the country's elite.

"We're looking forward to the challenge. If we want to consider ourselves a quote "Top-20team" with a chance to win a championship, go to a BCS bowl game, then we've got to beat people like this. We're looking forward to the challenge."

Defensive end Bruce Irvin said he relishes playing to a nasty crowd.

"We're going to their place. It's going to be hostile," said Irvin. "I'm gonna have fun. I'm gonna do what makes them mad, and that's play good. That's all you can do."

Holgorsen said he doesn't conduct a typical "walk-through" at opponents' stadiums. Instead, the Mountaineers will do that Friday at Mountaineer Field before boarding a bus at 2 p.m., and, once they arrive in Maryland, they will go straight to their hotel.

The first time they will walk onto Capital One Field will be game day.

"A lot of schools take their teams to the stadiums to try to develop a comfort level or familiarity level," he said. "But the sidelines are always the same and the field is always the same. To me, a field is a field, and that's how they've got to approach it."

Agreed, said defensive back Keith Tandy.

"I've heard it's a pretty exciting place to play, it should be a pretty good atmosphere," said Tandy. "But we're going to treat it the same."

NOTES -- Freshman defensive back Terrell Chestnut had season-ending shoulder surgery, said Holgorsen, and will return to the practice field in the spring. ... Holgorsen is as interested as anyone to see what kind of uniforms Maryland will come up with this week: "They've got like 35-40 different uniforms." ... ... Senior wide receiver Brad Starks could be moving up the depth chart. Starks caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Paul Millard against Norfolk State last week and has been practicing well. "He's getting better," said Holgorsen. "I didn't want to talk about him a month ago, but, based on the last three weeks of him practicing hard, he's on track to get better and better. He's sitting at third team, but, if he has a good week of practice, he may go to the second team."


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