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Tennessee linebacker Jordan Allen practices Wednesday on Haslam Field in Knoxville. The Vols have a little more than two weeks left in the preseason before taking on West Virginia in Charlotte, N.C.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

KNOXVILLE — The head coach of Tennessee's first opponent this football season thinks his university's academic calendar gives the Volunteers an edge.

West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen told reporters in Morgantown on Tuesday that he's "not happy about the fact that we get less time to prepare than Tennessee does."

The NCAA limits teams to 20 hours of mandatory team-related activities when school is in session, and West Virginia's fall semester started a week before Tennessee's.

At West Virginia, classes began on Aug. 15. Tennessee's fall semester starts Aug. 22.

"They get about five more days of unlimited time," Holgorsen said. "Which, if you add that up, that's probably about an extra week of work. Once we got into the 20-hour rule, they got an extra week of work."

Holgorsen's ire for the discrepancy between the teams' practice schedules was directed at the NCAA.

"I think this is a flaw in how the NCAA does their preseason practices," he said.

The Vols and the 17th-ranked Mountaineers are scheduled to play Sept. 1 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. It will be the season opener for both teams. An outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease also has hampered West Virginia's preparations for the game.

WVU administrators postponed their team's fan day event scheduled for this past weekend when medical staff identified five cases of the contagious virus within the football program.

Holgorsen suggested Tuesday that there may have been an overreaction to that news.

"It's poison ivy with a fever," Holgorsen said. "I mean, your hands and feet aren't going to fall off. So we have it contained. It is contagious. So our medical staff did a great job of identifying it. We cleaned this place as well as we could possibly clean it, regardless of if there's any kind of outbreak or not."

Holgorsen said he thinks the virus "spooked" his team more than anything. He did not reveal which players had the virus.

"You've got to keep those guys away," Holgorsen said. "We treated it like those guys were hurt and they just couldn't come here. Once the doctors cleared them, they were back to work. It was a nuisance, but it's all good."

Holgorsen confirmed a broken hand will sideline cornerback Jake Long for several weeks to begin the season. Long was battling for a spot in a secondary that lost several of its top performers from last year's team.

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidWCobb and on Facebook at facebook.com/volsupdate.

 

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