WEST VIRGINIA STATE'S new coaching staff is working with low numbers in its first spring in Institute, but all signs point to a positive environment toward Saturday's Black and Gold spring game.
Primarily, said first-year Coach Jon Anderson, those positives are the 45 players who have been in spring workouts have bought what he and his first-year staff are selling.
"You get one chance to lay the foundation and to start this thing," said Anderson, who had 11 years as an assistant at the University of Sioux Falls prior to arriving in Institute. "We're very clear and deliberate in our expectations. You believe in certain things and you don't sacrifice things you hold firmly.
"For me that's discipline, work ethic and being sound fundamentally. Those are three things I won't compromise."
Anderson said they have implemented a scaled-down version of their schemes, and is pleased with the conditioning work done by the offensive linemen under assistant Mike Krysl.
"We've trimmed some fat and gained some muscle," said Anderson, who has worked with cafeteria personnel to assist with his players' diets. "We're better in some spots because we had five offensive linemen lose a combined 110 pounds from January to spring break (which ended March 31). To me, that's buying in."
The Black and Gold spring game on Saturday will complete a day of festivities on the State campus in Institute.
Beginning at 10 a.m., the football team will host a free kids' clinic, which is open to all children in 1st-8th grade and requires only a shirt, shoes and shorts.
"Our players will run around with these guys," Anderson said. "We'll get the uniforms out and have a scrimmage at 3."
The spring game will be a "glorified scrimmage," Anderson said, to include 45-50 snaps, an officiating crew as well as scorekeeping and announcers.
"There will be a lot of recruits and we have some alumni who are interested in coming back," Anderson said. "It should be a great atmosphere. I'm excited how this turned out."
Parents can register their children online at www.wvsuyellowjackets.com or in person at 9:30 a.m. the day of the game.
For more information, call the W.Va. State football office at 304-766-3204.