WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Catching a pass from QB Skylar Howard

There’s nothing like an evening of playing with the players to get you even more charged for the start of college football season.

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

Me with QB Skylar Howard

On a beautiful, sunny Sunday evening, more than 100 women gathered at Milan Puskar Stadium for a chance to get up close and personal with our beloved WVU football team.

We got to chat with the team, take pictures with players and coaches, and even learn some gridiron basics by participating in basic tackling, passing and running plays.

Unfortunately, I went in on the DL due to some nagging injuries – mainly Achilles tendonosis – so I didn’t get to partake in the drills like I would’ve liked.

I couldn’t risk tearing my Achilles. (Fortunately, my sports medicine doc, S. Derrick Eddy, is a WVU grad and agreed that I couldn’t miss this amazing opportunity.) Plus, I had to make sure I was up for 2 days of golf on the Arnold Palmer Course at Stonewall Resort following the program.

This was my third time participating in Football 101 for Women. Established in 2012 as a joint fundraising event hosted by the President’s Office and Mountaineer Athletic Club, the program provides a notable WVU football experience for women who share a passion for the sport.

“It turned over to the MAC in 2013 and continues today as one of our most popular events, giving women a unique opportunity to interact with the coaches and players, as well as connect with other female Mountaineer football fans,” said Jamie Hall, assistant director of donor relations and special events for the MAC. “This year, we raised more than $8,000 through the live auction.”

I was excited to share this year’s experience with my friend Linda Grandon and her daughter, Dana. This was their first time participating in it.

“I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea we’d be doing different circuits with players,” Linda said. “I like the way we were treated. You see the players and they’re having a good time and laughing. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences.”

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

QB Skylar Howard with Linda and Dana Grandon

After enjoying appetizers and cocktails in Touchdown Terrace, we made our way to Mountaineer field through the newly renovated east side of the stadium. (Ladies, you all have Linda to thank for this since she made the request to the Women Supporting Athletics staff.)

Well, let me tell you, after seeing the changes to the east concourse, the project is fulfilling its promise to upgrade the fan experience.

In addition to a wider concourse that includes more restrooms and concession stands, those who have field box seats will get to enjoy new seats, TVs and heaters.

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron BasicsThe west side, where we sit, won’t be completed in time for this football season, but I look forward to it being done for the 2017 season.

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Dana in Milan Puskar Center

After checking out the new-and-improved east concourse, we made our way through Milan Puskar Center, which was renovated in 2015. This athletic training facility is impressive and the weight room rivals about any NFL facility.

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron BasicsAfter listening to Mike Joseph talk about the team’s strengthening and conditioning program, the moment finally arrived when we got to run out on the field through the same doors the team does on game day.

Then, the real fun began. We got to interact with the players and coaches on Mountaineer field.

“Meeting these remarkable young men and seeing their faces and smiles beneath the helmets allowed us to connect with the players on a personal level,” said Patricia Lake, whose son was on the team a few years ago. “And they actually appeared to enjoy the experience as well. The looks on their faces as we went through their drills…priceless.”

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

(L-R) William Crest, LeeAnn Jones, Pam Priester, Patricia Lake, Martha Hawkins, Khairi Sharif

“The team put us in the game, if only for an evening,” Patricia said. “Being on Mountaineer field was the ultimate experience. I would like to extend a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to these young men and the coaches for a chance to relive the happiest of times…playing football in the backyard with my boys.”

I also want to thank the MAC staff who put this event together. Kudos to you for a job well done!

Here are photo highlights of the day.

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

LB Sean Walters and Dana

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Warming up in Touchdown Terrace

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

RB Rushel Shell and me

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Dana doing an OL drill

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Linda doing an OL drill

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

OL Tony Matteo, Marcell Lazard, Tyler Orlosky

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

OL Coach Ron Crook and me

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

QB William Crest, Jr.

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Skylar Howard explains the QB drill

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Catching a pass from QB Skylar Howard

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Linda and I pose with Stedman Bailey, who played for WVU and the Los Angeles Rams. He is serving as the student assistant coach while completing his bachelor’s degree.

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

DL Noble Nwachukwu, me and Christian Brown

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

WVU linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton instructs the ladies on the drill

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Dana Grandon runs through linebacker drill

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Linda Grandon, me and LB Sean Walters

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

LB Al-Rasheed Benton, of Newark, NJ, with Dana Grandon

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

LB Sean Walters, of Hollywood, Fla., and Dana Grandon

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

Dana, safety Khairi Sharif and Linda

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

Me, Khairi Sharif and Linda

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Pat White is one of the many greats featured in the photo mural in Milan Puskar Center

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

Of course, the mural has to feature Owen Schmitt’s famous 57-yard TD run at the 2008 Fiesta Bowl game

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

I really wanted to pick up one of these dumbbells but they were all too heavy

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

New east concourse features photo murals of WVU football greats, such as Jeff Hostetler

WVU Football Players School the Ladies in Gridiron Basics

WVU Football Players School The Ladies on Gridiron Basics

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