MORGANTOWN - When West Virginia University opens spring football drills at 9:25 a.m., one coach will begin his final season as a member of the Mountaineer coaching staff while several others start what they hope will be long, successful careers in Morgnatown.
For the players, however, it is business as usual.
"We don't take it (the coaching changes) any way," explained senior-to-be Cody Nutter. "As players we are here to play football. It really doesn't matter what I, or any other player, thinks about the changes."
Nutter, who begins his final season in Morgantown as the team's top long snapper, was in Vienna in January as part of the Boys and Girls Club Steak and Burger Dinner, but couldn't help thinking about the changes going on inside the Mountaineer football program that he has called his family for the past four seasons.
"Coach (Bill) Stewart will still be our head coach and the new coaches that have been brought in all have great credentials and appear to be determined to making us a better program," said the Parkersburg South graduate.
Stewart, who took over the program following Rich Rodriguez' departure prior to the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, will turn over the team following the 2011 season to head -coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen, who will handle WVU's offensive coordinator position until then.
In addition to Holgorsen, the Mountaineer players also will be dealing with coaching changes on the offensive line, where Bill Bedenbaugh has taken over for Dave Johnson.
Robert Gillespie has taken over the duty of finding a replacement for WVU's top running back, Noel Devine, while Shannon Dawson and newest member Daron Roberts will work with a receiving corps minus its top performer, Jock Sanders.
"I really don't expect much change," senior-to-be Julian Miller explained. "We have a lot of guys with a ton of experience and I expect that they will handle the changes easily."
Following today's practice in shorts, the Mountaineers will return to the practice field at 5:30 p.m. on Friday for another workout in shorts.
The team's first practice in shells will take place on Saturday. It will alternate between shells and pads during the remainder of the 12 workouts prior to the annual Gold/Blue scrimmage at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29.
"I think we will be ready to go," added Miller, who looks to take over one of the seven starting positions vacated on a defense that was ranked among the tops in the Big East as well as nationally. "The players are there to make us as good, or even better, than last year's group."
The first scrimmage of the spring will take place on Saturday, April 16, with a second slated to take place on Friday, April 22.
Admission to the Gold/Blue game has risen to $10 per ticket with all proceeds from the contest going to the WVU Children's Hospital.