MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Before West Virginia could begin its preseason camp Thursday, the Mountaineers received a boost from the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.
WVU was ranked No. 11 and second to only No. 4 Oklahoma among the six Big 12 Conference teams in the poll.
"It's important to be in the top 20," said second-year Coach Dana Holgorsen, who votes in the poll. "Top-20 teams get more recognition. It's good to be there. We're happy about being there. Are we going to throw a party about it? Probably not? Are we going to talk about it? Probably not."
This is the sixth time since 2004 WVU has been ranked in the preseason coaches' poll: No. 11 in 2004, No. 7 in 2006, No. 6 in 2007, No. 8 in 2008 and No. 24 in 2010. The Mountaineers finished last season No. 18 in the coaches' poll.
"It's an honor to be there and it's good for the program and good for publicity and we're fired up about it, but it's not going to change anything we do," Holgorsen said. "We're not going to talk about it. We're not going to change what our routine is and how we practice and all of that."
After the Sooners and the Mountaineers, the Big 12 had Texas at No. 15, TCU at No. 17, Oklahoma State at No. 19 and Kansas State at No. 21. Only the Southeastern Conference had more with seven selections, including No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama and three others in the top 10.
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ALL BUT four of the players the Mountaineers were expecting were at practice. The exceptions are all from the freshmen class: receivers Deontay McManus and Dee Joyner, linebacker Sam Lebbie and running back Roshard Burney.
McManus, Lebbie and Joyner couldn't qualify while Burney's status is pending. Holgorsen said Lebbie and McManus will both play at a prep school. They're together at Atlanta Sports Academy. Holgorsen said Burney "is still trying" and the decision is "in the NCAA's hands." Burney could know by Monday. As for Joyner, Holgorsen said he's "not sure where he's going."
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ASSUMING NONE of those four make it to campus, Holgorsen said WVU had right around 80 scholarship players at practice.
That's five shy of the NCAA maximum and well above where the Mountaineers were in Holgorsen's first season.
Holgorsen hinted there might be more losses shortly, though.