Monday, April 2, 2012

See You in a Bit

Regretfully, I am here today to inform you that I will be taking a hiatus from this blog. As much as I love to write about WVU, my schedule is about to get much more busy.
I have decided to write a book. Well, that's not necessarily true. I actually decided to write a book in 2002, but haven't gotten around to it. However, I think I have an idea that I can actually go, I'm going to give it a run.

I should be back in time for the football season, and hopefully will post from time-to-time. But, most of my free time will be devoted to the book.

Just want to thank everyone again for all the support of this little side project, which got to a much bigger level than I ever expected. Hopefully, that will continue when I get back to it in the fall.

Let's Go Mountaineers!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

WVU-Gonzaga Preview

West Virginia tips off tonight against Gonzaga in the First Round Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers finished the season with a 19-13 record, including a .500 year in the Big East. The Zags went 25-6, and lost to St. Mary's in the WCC final. It should be a fun, physical close game. Let's take a look at the matchup...


Advantage: Gonzaga

The Zags only average three more points a game than WVU, but are a much deeper team. They have five players averaging 8.5 points per game or better. They have also have better field goal, free throw, and three point percentages. WVU has struggled all year to keep the scoring numbers up, and are one of the worst outside shooting teams in the tournament. However, the Mountaineers will look to take advantage of their offensive rebounding abilities. Second-chance points could play a huge factor.


Advantage: WVU

Gonzaga had a better points against per game this season, but the Mountaineers played a much more difficult schedule. Bob Huggins is one of the best defensive coaches in the country, and has gotten his team to play physically, and aggressively in the half court. The Mountaineers are also very strong down low, and will force Gonzaga into tough shots. WVU is also one of the better defensive rebounding teams out there, so Gonzaga will struggle to get second chance opportunities.


Advantage: WVU

Mark Few is one hell of a coach. He has consistently put Gonzaga into the tournament, and been on top of the WCC. He typically gets the most out of every kid, even if they aren't elite recruits. Normally I would pick him in this category, but we are talking about Bob Huggins of the best all-time. Two trips to the Final-Four, and over 700 career wins. Never a bad thing to go into battle with Huggs.


Advantage: Push

The game is an hour away from Morgantown. WVU took a bus. Gonzaga flew through three time zones. The Mountaineers will bring a level of toughness that Gonzaga doesn't typically see. The Zags have the ability to hang with it, but will they? Both teams aren't afraid to play anyone, so don't expect to see wide eyes. Gonzaga does have some more experience, which should certainly help as well.


It should be an outstanding game. The Mountaineers are the lower seed, but Gonzaga will treat it like they are the underdog. A lot will ride on how Truck Bryant shoots the ball. If he can give the Mountaineers a respectable performance, then look for WVU to control. If the Mountaineers fail to shoot well, then it could be a very long night. Look for WVU to find Kevin Jones and Deni Kilicli early, and then move outside. Hard to see Jones going out with a early loss, but we'll see.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tournament Notes: Tim Higgins to Retire?

A full preview coming up tomorrow. Meanwhile, here are a few bits and pieces from Tournament Week...

-Kevin Jones gets more hardware. He was named to the USBWA All-American Team. Jones was one of ten players to be named to the list, which includes Jared Sullinger and Anthony Davis. Jones was named to the second team.

-Tommy McCune has officially left the team. The seldom-used forward will look to transfer, though no word yet on where. McCune played n just 13 games, and averaged less than a point per game.

-The Women made the tournament again this season. WVU is an 8-seed, and will play 8-seed Texas on Saturday. The game is in Norfolk, and starts at 11:10AM. The winner will most likely play Stanford.

-Tim Higgins to retire? That's the word from Bob Huggins. Check out this video about 20 seconds in. The longtime ref has been a fan favorite for years. It will be sad to see him go. In related news, I love to write sarcastically.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jones Named 3rd-Team All America

Some actual good news regarding Kevin Jones. The Sporting News named Jones to its All American Third Team. The Wooden Award finalist certainly deserves this recognition after a fantastic final season in Morgantown.

Jones led the Big East with 20 points per-game, and rebounding at 11 boards per-game. He also finished the regular season with 20 double-doubles. More importantly, Jones helped guide his team to a .500 record in the Big East, and an 8th seed in the conference tournament. Jones will more than likely finish second in Player of the Year voting in the Big East to Marquette's Jae Crowder.

The Mountaineers face the Connecticut/DePaul tomorrow at Noon, with the winner getting Syracuse on Thursday.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kevin Jones Gets Screwed...Also, Water is Wet

I imagine that somewhere Geno Smith is shaking his head. Smith understands exactly what Kevin Jones is about to go through. Just like Smith, Jones is about to get completely screwed by the very conference he tore his heart out playing in over the last few months. Will it matter? No. Should it matter? Oh, yes.

For Smith, it was Isaiah Pead who would be Offensive Player of the Year. Was it a good year for Pead? Yes. He rushed for over 1,000 yards, and accounted for 11 touchdowns. However, that was dwarfed by the year Smith had...the best a WVU quarterback has ever have. Smith entered the bowl season with over 3,900 yards passing and 26 touchdowns. He also guided his team to a win over Pead's on their way to the Orange Bowl. Not only were his numbers more impressive, but he was also much more valuable to his team. Cincinnati slid when they lost quarterback, Zach Collaros, not Pead.

Needless to say, Smith losing was surprising, but doesn't compare to what is about to happen to Kevin Jones. If the reports are true, and Jae Crowder is the Big East Player of the Year, then it's a smack in the face. Jones has the better numbers, and is so much more valuable to his team...and I'm not sure it's even close.

Don't get me wrong, I like Crowder. He is a fun basketball player to watch. He can go inside and outside. His energy level is outstanding. He has a high basketball IQ, but isn't the Big East Player of the Year. Hell, I'm not even sure if he is the best player on his team. Darius Jonson-Odom may have something to say about that. But, even if the argument is made that he is a more versatile player than Jones, there is absolutely no way anyone can say he is more valuable.

Marquette is still a tournament team without Crowder. Johnson-Odom, Vander Blue, Todd Mayo, Davante Gardner and company would still be a Top-6 team in the Big East. Meanwhile, WVU without Kevin Jones is DePaul. I'm not even sure the Mountaineers would be NIT-bound. Truck Bryant, Denis Kilicli, and a mound of freshmen is a recipe for disaster.

Even if you want to give the edge to Crowder due to the record, statistics would push the argument back to Jones. Points per game? Jones (20 to 17). Rebounds per game? Jones (11 to 8). Field Goal Percentage? Jones (.515 to .512). Free Throw Percentage? Jones (.77 to .74). To Crowder's credit he does have more steals and assists, but Jones also dropped 20 Double-Doubles. Crowder had 11.

The value argument and stat argument side with Jones. The record sides with Crowder. Is that enough to tilt the argument towards the Marquette man? It shouldn't, but it sounds like that is the case.

Should this be surprising? No. Jones was already not a unanimous selection for Big East First Team. How ridiculous is that? The man who led the league in scoring and rebounding (by the way, the only other two to do that won POY) wasn't a first teamer in some coach's eyes. It obviously shows that bias has certainly reared its ugly head in these selections.

Again, should this be surprising? A school that sued the league to get out early, which already had a quarterback get completely jacked out of an award? I think you all can put it together.

So, in the immortal words of Jake Taylor from Major League...there's only one thing left to do..."win the whole f***ing thing". Maybe then Kevin Jones would get some respect. Doubtful in this league, though.

WVU Announces Coaching Assignments

WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen announced the official coaching staff positions for the upcoming season. The announcement was held today, as the media finally had an opportunity to speak with some of the new staff members. The shifting included both the new and current coaches, as Holgorsen and company gets ready from Spring practices. Here is a look at the coaching staff, and their 2012 duties.

Dana Holgorsen: Head Coach
Shannon Dawson: Offensive Coordinator, Wide Receivers
Jake Spivital: Quarterbacks
Robert Gillespie: Running Backs
Bill Bedenbaugh: Offensive Line
Joe DeForest: Co-Defensive Coordinator, Safeties
Keith Patterson: Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers
Daron Roberts: Cornerbacks
Erik Slaughter: Defensive Line
Steve Dunlap: Assistant Head Coach, Special Teams

-Dawson now coaches all receivers.
-Holgorsen will still have final say on offensive calls.
-Roberts moves from receivers to cornerbacks. He coached corners in the NFL.
-Dunlap gets Asst HC title, and completely takes over Special Teams

Evaluating The Players

It's been a long, frustrating year for the Men's basketball team. I guess that's to be expected when Bob Huggins has to rely on so many new players. And the kids did pretty times. The Mountaineers did manage to get to .500 in Big East play, and seem to have snuck into a Tournament birth (I'll feel a lot better with at least one win in New York). So, before March gets Mad, let's evaluate everybody's contribution this year.

Kevin Jones, F, SR: What can be said that hasn't already? Jones led the Big East in both scoring (19) and rebounding (11). He was named to the Big East First Team, and may end up being Player of the Year. This is quite a story for a player who seemed out of place as a leader in his last season. Jones was such a pleasure to watch this year, as he completely took over...and really had to take take over. Without Jones, WVU would be lucky to make the NIT.

Darryl "Truck" Bryant, G, SR: Truck had a solid final season in Morgantown. The most polarizing player possibly in WVU history hit a lot of big shots and played very good defense throughout the year. He was the most consistent shooter for a team that struggled to score. He also played much better off the ball. Granted, he did lead the team in turnovers, but also led the team in clutch shots.

Deniz Kilicli, F, JR: The "Turk" had an inconsistent season. His rebounding was adequate, not great. His scoring was solid at times, though had the propensity to disappear. And, I'm not sure there is another player in the nation that missed more four-footers than Kilicli. His free-throw shooting still needs a lot of work...well, really his whole game still needs work. The numbers did improve from last season, but still needs more consistency.

Kevin Noreen, F, r-FR: Another tough season for Noreen, whose season was cut short due to injury. Seemed to be turning into the new Cam Thoroughman...just a big annoyance for other teams. He can take a charge, foul hard, and make a fantastic pass. Struggled shooting, but that's not his game. Hoping he can come back next year and finally stay healthy.

Jabarie Hinds, G, FR: Truly a learning experience for Hinds. I can't even imagine playing PG as a freshman in the Big East, and Hinds battled throughout. He led the team in assists and steals, though both numbers slowed down throughout the year. His defensive intensity needs to improve, especially when adverse conditions set in. Hinds also needs to stay focused. Certainly a learning experience, but a lot of promise with this kid.

Gary Browne, G, FR: The other Frosh PG was all over the map this year. He hit a few huge 3-pointers, showed us that he can get to the hoop, and has a great compete level. Though, like Hinds, needs some work. Browne was simply careless with the ball too much this season, and needs to improve his shooting. What did improve was his defense and foul shooting. And, his leadership was very solid for someone in their first year. It will be fun to watch Browne mature.

Aaron Brown, G, FR: I think it's safe to say that the legs just got tired. Brown, who is one of WVU's best shooters really hit a wall late. Yet, he still shot over 40% from 3-point land. Brown needs to work on his defense if he wants to stay on the floor, as well as creating his own shot. Another freshman with plenty of promise, though.

Keaton Miles, F, FR: He started nearly every game, though only averaged marginal minutes. The reason he started? Defense, defense, defense. Why the low minutes? Offense, offense, offense. An outstanding defender, who simply needs to improve offensively to stay on the court. He did look more comfortable late in the season, but only shot 33%. He is also very shaky from the free-throw line. He is an athletic specimen, who could turn into a nice specialist for this program.

Dominique Rutledge, F, JR: The transfer really improved throughout the year. Rutledge couldn't even get on the court early-on, now looks very strong in his reserve roll. He has good rebounding skills, and is deceptively quick with the ball. He certainly needs to work on being a more consistent basketball player, and tends to get a head of himself. Should contribute the rest of this year, and could fill a nice roll in 2013.

Paul Williamson, Tommy McCune, Pat Forsythe: None played enough or healthy enough to make a serious contribution this season.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Quick Look at WVU's 2012 Schedule

Here is a look at WVU's schedule for the upcoming year...the first in the Big 12!

Day, Date, Opponent, Time

Sat. Sept. 1 Marshall TBA

Note: Why?

Sat. Sept. 8 Open

Sat. Sept. 15 vs. James Madison + TBA

Note: Cash grab game in DC.

Sat. Sept. 22 Maryland TBA

Note: Is there anybody still playing for the Terps?

Sat. Sept. 29 Baylor # TBA

Note: Interesting homecoming game. And, the first Big 12 game ever for WVU.

Sat. Oct. 6 at Texas TBA

Note: First trip in the Big 12 is to take on the Legend of the conference.

Sat. Oct. 13 at Texas Tech TBA

Note: One of Dana's former stomping grounds. Defense optional.

Sat. Oct. 20 Kansas State TBA

Note: Huge matchup, as Kansas State looks to be one of the top teams.

Sat. Oct. 27 Open

Sat. Nov. 3 TCU ^ TBA

Note: The battle of former Big East teams? Kind-of?

Sat. Nov. 10 at Oklahoma State TBA

Note: Another former spot for Dana. Take the over.

Sat. Nov. 17 Oklahoma TBA

Note: Depending on how the season goes for both, could be a Gameday option.

Sat. Nov. 24 at Iowa State TBA

Note: I have been looking of forward to the first trip to Ames since October!

Sat. Dec. 1 Kansas TBA

Note: Charlie Weis has some serious work to do.

+-FedEx Field, Landover, MD
^-Mountaineer Day

WVU is Officially Out of the Big East at the End of June.

Here ya go, folks. Here is the quote Mountaineer fans have been waiting for since October. Oliver Luck said in a statement today that

“This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for WVU’s future. I’ve heard from Mountaineer fans across the country who have made it very clear that they are proud and honored to be heading into the Big 12.”

And now, Mountaineer fans feel free to exhale.

WVU in the Big East will Officially End Today

It is done. WVU is out of the Big East, and headed to the Big 12. An announcement will come today. WVMetronews with the details.
The settlement allows WVU to leave the Big East for the Big 12 on July 1, but WVU will have to pay the Big East $20 in damages.

WVU, however, will get half of that payment from the Big 12, sources say. $5 million will be a direct gift while the remaining $5 million will be returned to the Big 12 in future years by WVU taking a smaller payout from the league.

Friday, February 10, 2012

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WVU's New Football Foes

Now that it looks like WVU is heading to the Big 12 in 2012, what is the team's chances of second straight year to a BCS game? The Mountaineers should be able to integrate right in, and be competitive. But, where exactly do they stand? Let's take a quick look at the conference for 2012.

Baylor: No Robert Griffin III, not a lot of defense equals a rebuilding year for the Bears.

Iowa State: A bowl team from a year ago, questions at quarterback and defense will keep them midpack.

Kansas: Transition year for the Jayhawks as Charlie Weiss takes over the team. It will be interesting to see what he does at the quarterback position.

Kansas State: Quarterback Collin Klein is back, and so is much of the defense. Another solid season for the Wildcats is in the cards.

Oklahoma: Landry Jones and most of the offensive line are back, so scoring won't be a problem. Defensive needs to catch up.

Oklahoma State: Lost major keys parts on offense and defense, but should remain competitive with younger guys stepping in.

Texas: Too many questions for the offense entering the Spring to make them a true contender. Defense did step up last year, and helped the team stay in games.

TCU: The newcomer will have an explosive offense if the young line gives Casey Pachall time to throw. Will be a very competitive team right away.

Texas Tech: Plenty of talent, just a lack of execution over the last few years. Crucial year for Tommy Tuberville to get team to buy into system.

Yes, I'll miss the Big East...and I won't miss the Big East

What I'll Miss...Big East Championship at the Garden.

What I Won't Miss...The terrible yearly ESPN theme song for the Big East Championship.

What I'll Miss...Trips to New England, so I am within driving distance to see WVU.

What I Won't Miss...Trips to New England, so I don't have to see them lose some terrible game to UConn.

What I'll Miss...Beating Rutgers in football, every year.

What I Won't Miss...Losing to Syracuse in basketball, every year.

What I'll Miss...Being the perennial BCS favorite.

What I won't Miss...Failing to reach expectations nearly every year.

What I'll Miss...Skip Holtz in white.

What I won't Miss...Rick Pitino in white.

What I'll Miss...The Backyard Brawl.

What I Won't Miss...Playing DePaul in anything.

What I'll Miss...The Husband/Wife Rivalry (WVU/Cuse)

What I Won't Miss...The Husband/Wife Rivalry.

In all seriousness, the Big East was good to West Virginia. There are a lot of great memories...really too many to choose from. But, it's time to take the next step. Big 12, here we come.

Embrace Your New Big 12 Overlords!

A new chapter in WVU sports will start this fall. The school is on the way to the Big 12, following the news of an agreement made with the Big East to leave early.

The Big East will make about $20 million from the resolution, with WVU paying $11 million.

The source said the Big 12 would handle the remaining amount and the Mountaineers will enjoy full membership in that conference beginning July 1.

The source said WVU's early exit from the Big East is no longer conditional upon Boise State joining the Big East as a replacement in 2012.

So, as one chapter closes, another begins for WVU...a chapter that will take them west. Trips to the Northeast will be replaced with trips to Texas and the heartland of America. And, anyone not excited has something wrong with them.

The new rivals will be some of the most tradition-rich teams in college sports. Kansas is a basketball Mecca, Oklahoma is 8th all-time in football victories, Texas is 2nd all-time, and Oklahoma State ranks 4th all-time in National Championships for all sports.

That's just a little example of the tradition of winning the Big 12 has. WVU will jump in with every sport they have, and should be competitive in most. There is also word that Oliver Luck is looking to bring back a Men's Golf team. As for Men's Soccer (which the Big 12 doesn't have) look for a new home in Conference USA or the MAC. Rifle will also stay put.

These are exciting times for Mountaineer fans. The school is coming off an Orange Bowl win, both basketball teams are competitive, both soccer teams are strong, and the remaining Olympic sports should only get better with the move to the Big 12.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the transition to the big, bad Big 12.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two Representing WVU at the NFL Combine

West Virginia will be represented by two former standouts at this year's NFL Combine. Najee Goode and Bruce Irvin will be in Indianapolis for the week-long scouting event. Both players join an impressive list of players looking to impress all 32 teams before the NFL Draft in April.

Goode had a solid final season at the inside linebacker position. He finished with 87 total tackles to lead the team. Goode also had five sacks, one interception, and a forced fumble. He has decent size, very good awareness, and solid tackling ability. He will certainly be looking to improve his speed, and show he can play in a base defense. CBS has him listed as a 7th round prospect.

Irvin is the sack specialist, who had his numbers drop a bit in his final season. However, most scouts will understand that he saw many more double teams this season than last. He still finished with 8.5 sacks and forced three fumbles. He also played many more snaps this season, totaling 40 tackles. Irvin has pure rushing ability, tremendous speed, and technique. Can he play DE in the league? Or is outside linebacker in his future? Look for Irvin to destroy some of the speed drills at the combine. CBS has Irvin as a 3rd-4th round prospect. If he has a good combine and pro day, he will go higher than that.

Snubs: Julian Miller and Keith Tandy both should have been invited. Miller had a productive career at DE for WVU. He is also projected to be a late-rounder. Meanwhile, Tandy didn't have the strongest final season, but does have a very good skill-set at CB, and is projected to be a mid-round pick.

Is the End Near?

It seems the end is undoubtedly near for WVU in the Big East. One of the big Mike Casazza nails it out of the park today, writing about the separation.

Casazza writes...

There's no way West Virginia dismisses Florida State unless the Mountaineers are absolutely certain they won't be a part of the Big East in 2012 and has a guarantee from the Big East. We could see that Thursday.

It could be that the two sides have already reached a proposed settlement and that they'll submit it to the judge that requested this hearing.

That judge will then agree or disagree with the proposal and make sure the terms are fair and equal for both sides and any third parties that may be involved and affected by the conclusion.

It seems that the biggest fact is the FSU angle. Casazza is right on the money with saying what he did about the FSU game. WVU would never sacrifice the game (and certainly the money they will have to give up) if they didn't have some clear indication the Big 12 is in their immediate future.

It would also be nice if WVU and FSU could clear this up quickly, so the story can be put out quickly. Casazza also points out that WVU could get away free, if FSU could find a comparable opponent.

No matter what happens, look for more news to break this week about the future.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

REPORT: Mike Smith Leaving WVU...Already

Mike Smith, who expected a defensive coaching position a few weeks back is headed back to the NFL...already. At least that's the word from Jeff Darlington of, who tweeted about it earlier today. Darlington wrote...

Small note learned while reporting Welker feature: Mike Smith, who accepted a job with WVU, has decided to instead stay as OLB coach.

Smith had accepted the West Virginia ass't DC job, but Rex Ryan convinced him last week in Hawaii to stay with the Jets instead. Just fyi.

If true, WVU is now looking to fill two spaces once again. Most people believe that WVU must be targeting someone from the Giants or Patriots, considering the hiring process is taking forever, and now might have just reached a new level.

Nothing is official at this time, but Darlington seems pretty confident in his tweeting.

UPDATE: College Football Talk just tweeted that WVU has announced that Smith has gone back to the Jets.

Signing Day Musings

WVU signee, Jarrod Harper told the News-Tribune that the Mountaineers plan to alternate Pitt and Maryland in their schedule. At least, that's how the incoming safety perceived it from talks with the coaching staff. When reached for comment, WVU told the paper that there is no info regarding the future at this time. (Solid work by former colleague Mike Minnich)

Eric Kinsey is finally a Mountaineer. Though, it was a strange evening for WVU fans following his saga. The defensive end from Miami decided to wait to announce until last night, and then what followed can't really be explained in a few sentences. Go check out Geoff Coyle's Twitter basically explains the night.

Expect at least one or two guys to make an instant impact. The question is where? WVU had no true "need" spots, but depth was certainly added, and typically one or two first-years always get in the mix early. Look for JUCO transfer, Matt Glowinski to get in the mix early on the offensive line. He's a big kid, with two years of experience in. Tarvares Copeland and Deontay McManus could get early looks at the wideout position, and look for the young tailbacks to get right in the mix.

Damon Cogdell is the most important former player in Mountaineer history. Not from what he has done on the football field, but for what he has done as coach at Mirimar in Florida. Not only is he an outstanding coach, but he also has helped send a slew of incredible players to Morgantown. That list includes Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey, Ivan McCartney, Dante Chambers (no longer on the team), and Josh Taylor. You can now add Devonte Mathis to that list, who sent in his letter yesterday.

WVU gets an early jump on the 2013 class. It has been reported that highly-touted Ohio safety, Jayme Thompson has committed to WVU. Thompson has interest from numerous Big Ten schools and Notre Dame. Granted, a year is a long time to hold a commitment, and you certainly couldn't kill the kid if he wavers at some point, but not a bad way to start a recruiting season.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Video of Travares Copeland Choosing WVU

According to the athlete Copeland is a 3-star recruit.

National Signing Day Tracker

Already Enrolled:

Ford Childress, QB, Houston, TX (3-star): Profile
Karl Joseph, S, Orlando, FL (3-star): Profile
Jordan Thompson, WR, Katy, TX (2-star): Profile
Imarjaye Adbury, DT, Miami , FL (3-star): Profile
Sean Walters, S, Hallandale Beach, FL (3-star): Profile

Signed LOI

Korey Harris, DL, Fruit Cove, FL (3-star): Profile
Christian Brown, DL, Bridgeton, NJ (3-star): Profile
Jarrod Harper, S, Frostberg, MD (2-star): Profile
Nana Kyeremeh, DB, Worthington, OH (3-star): Profile
Tyler Orlosky, OG, Lakewood, OH (3-star): Profile
Brandon Napoleon, ATH, Jersey City, NJ (3-star): Profile
Tony Matteo, OC, Akron, OH (3-star): Profile
Devonte Robinson, WR, Delray Beach, FL (3-star): Profile
Sam Lebbie, LB, Hyattsville, MD (3-star): Profile
Will Johnson, TE/WR, Osseo, MN (3-star): Profile
Garrett Hope, LB, The Woodlands, TX (3-star): Profile
Torry Clayton, RB, Homestead, FL (3-star): Profile
Noble Nwachukwu, DE, Wylie, TX (3-star): Profile
Roshard Burney, RB, Palm Beach Gardens, FL (3-star): Profile
Mark Glowinski, OL, Lackawanna College (3-star): Profile
Deontay McManus, WR, Baltimore, MD (4-star): Profile
KJ Dillon, S, Apopka, FL (3-star): Profile
Adam Pankey, OL, Hamilton, OH (3-star): Profile
Darreal Joyner, WR, Miami, FL (3-star): Profile
Devonte Mathis, WR, Miramar, FL (3-star): Profile
Travares Copeland, WR, Port St. Lucie, FL (3-star): Profile
Eric Kinsey, DE, Miami, FL (3-star): Profile

stars based on ratings

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some Love for the Two-Star Recruits

It is time once again for National Signing Day. The day where we all bank that 18 year-old kids are making the right decision, and will all live up to our high expectations. And, as we all know, not all will make the right choice, and not all will live up to those expectations. So, as we all wait to see where those last few four and five-star recruits end up, here is a list of players that weren't expected to be big impact guys. And what happened? Well, they became big impact guys. just because some dude running a website says your a two-star athlete doesn't mean your future is only a C+.

Here is a list of some of the Two-Star recruits according to that played well above expectation.


Chris Henry, WR: Finished his Mountaineer career as one of the most prolific receivers ever to don the gold and blue. Drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL by Cincinnati.

PacMan Jones, CB: Harassed receivers like nobody else, and was a solid kick returner. Ended up being drafted 7th overall to the Titans in 2006.

Dan Mozes, OL: A two-star recruit, who ends up turing into the best center to ever play for WVU. His senior year ended with a Rimington Trophy.


Mortty Ivy, LB: Recruited as an athlete, Ivy fit in nicely in the middle of the defense. He totalled 179 combined tackles in his final two seasons, with seven sacks and four interceptions. Ivy currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Selvish Capers, OL: Initially a tight end, Capers was moved to the line follow his freshman season. Midway through his second season, Capers took over the starting job at tackle and never gave it up. He was drafted by the Redskins in the 7th Round of the 2010 Draft. He currently is on the Giants' practice squad.

Pat McAfee, K: The two-star recruit came in as a kicker, and left as a punter. Granted, McAfee could certainly still nail a field goal or two, but he is now the starting punter for the Colts.


Jock Sanders, WR: Originally a tailback, Sanders made the smooth transition to wideout, and became a star. He is number one in career receptions at WVU with 206. He also finished with 14 touchdowns.


Ryan Clarke, FB: The big back has gone from pretty good ball carrier to exceptional run blocker. Mel Kiper has him listed as the number two fullback in 2013.

Robert Sands, S: The lengthy safety became one of WVU's defensive leaders, helping the Mountaineers become a top-5 defense. Sands was drafted by Cincinnati in the 5th Round of the 2011 Draft.


Dustin Garrison, RB: The young tailback took over three games into the season, and exploded for 291 rushing yards in his first start. Garrison ened the season with 742 yards, before ripping up his knee.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Orange Bowl Final Thoughts

Well, that was easy...and AMAZING! Just an unbelievable night for the Mountaineers, as they end up pounding Clemson. This was the kind of game you can only dream about. They never really come true. Well, it became reality as WVU performed well in all facets of the game, and now can celebrate another BCS win.

Most Valuable: Tavon Austin and Geno Smith. The two men that simply couldn't be stopped. These two were simply magical for four quarters last night. Geno accounted for seven touchdowns, four of them going to Tavon. The offense was simply amazing, and Smith showed incredible composure while ripping Clemson's heart out. Don't be surprised if both of these guys get thrown into the preseason Heisman talk.

Least Valuable: None. Everyone had an impact.

Most Surprising: Dropping a 70 bomb on the ACC champ, perhaps? Winning wasn't surprising. But 70 points? Ouch.

Least Surprising: Pregame Disrespect. WVU has now been significant underdogs in all three BCS games. They have now won all three BCS bowl games...two in convincing fashion. You would think someone would learn...guess not.

Play of the Game: Darwin Cook 99-yard Fumble Recovery TD

Grades: Ahhh, the hell with it. A for everyone!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Orange Bowl Preview

It's finally time for the Orange Bowl, and Clemson and West Virginia are ready to light up the South Beach Sky.


West Virginia: The Mountaineers will spread it right out and go to the air early. With Dustin Garrison out for the game, even more attention will be paid to Geno Smith and the passing game. Smith should continue to have success, as he looks to become the most prolific passing quarterback in WVU history. Look for Smith to be asked to make all the throws in this game, as he goes for big numbers. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin will be his main targets as usual. The big question is, who else will step up? J.D. Woods and Ivan McCartney will probably share a bit of time, and Devon Brown plays his final game. And, look out for Tyler Urban, who tends to get lost in the middle of the field. With Shawne Alston starting at running back, the ground game becomes more of ground and pound than speed. Alston should help a lot in short yardage and in the redzone. Also, watch for Andrew Buie to get plenty of reps as well. Buie brings the speed. It will be a very difficult offense to slow down.

Clemson: Speaking of hard to slow down, the Tigers will be right on pace with WVU. Tajh Boyd broke out this season to show he is one of the better young quarterbacks in the nation. Boyd finished with 31 touchdowns, and will certainly be looking to add to that total tonight. He is a bit more susceptible to the interception, but should have plenty of opportunities against the banged up WVU secondary. Sammy Watkins will be his top target. Watkins was fantastic in his first season. The frosh ended up with 77 receptions and 11 touchdowns. He will be keyed on all night, which should open things up for the res of the crew, including tight end, Dwayne Allen. WVU has struggled against tight ends this year, so look for Allen to be involved early. Clemson is more balanced than the Mountaineers Andre Ellington has had a solid year, rushing for over 1,000 yards. There is no doubt this will be an offensive showcase tonight.


West Virginia: The front is going to need to show up. Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller have come on strong lately, and will pose a tough matchup for the Clemson line. The big question will be how the front six slows the running game. The WVU linebacking unit has been hit and miss all year. However, Najee Goode and company played very well down the stretch. First step will be to stop the run, then it's all about slowing down Dwayne Allen. The secondary will be in for a treat. Already missing Terrence Garvin (injury), the young secondary will struggle to slow down Watkins and company. They will have to play more soft zone early on to get a sense of where Clemson will be attacking the most. Bottom-line is WVU needs to get to Boyd. If not, it could be a long night for this crew.

Clemson: It's not a bad unit either, but will struggle (like WVU) to sow down the offense they are facing. The Tigers best shot will also be to try and get to the quarterback. Andre Branch will anchor the front that could make things interesting. Branch, along with Brandon Thompson, and the linebacking crew should be able to slow down the WVU rush. However, slowing down the pass is another story. Clemson will have to bring in extra defensive backs to guard the pass, which could in turn open the rush back up for WVU. It will be a bit of a cat and mouse game early on, but it will be tough to shut down the Mountaineers.

Special Teams:

West Virginia: WVU has one of the best return guys in the nation in Tavon Austin. He has returned to kicks all the way, and also is very difficult to bring down. He does tend to drop the ball on punts, so we'll see if someone else gets that gig. Tyler Bitancurt doesn't have huge numbers, but the kid has been clutch. He has some big kicks under his belt. Corey Smith has improved his punting. Kick coverage has been inconsistent this season.

Clemson: Sammy Watkins can also return a kick like a badass, so WVU would be wise to kick it far away from him. Chandler Catanzaro has good range, hitting seven kicks from 40+. Dawson Zimmerman is a solid punter, averaging over 42 yards a kick. Clemson has also struggled with kick coverage this year.


This just feels like a game where both teams are going to put a number on the board. Both offenses have been prolific this season, and it's hard to believe that changes tonight. Expect a close game, with both teams trading scores early on. The defense that can force a mistake or two will probably be the difference. Also, special teams could play a significant role, especially with playmakers on both sides. WVU may have the advantage with the more experienced quarterback. And look for that to pay off in the long run.

Prediction: 38-35 WVU

Orange Bowl Previews

Every few days we will try to provide you with stories and tidbits surrounding the Orange Bowl that will tide you over till gameday in early January.
The Miami Herald's Preview.

The Washington Post's Preview.

The Boston Globe's Preview.

The Seattle Times' Preview.

The ACCSports Journal Preview.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Orange Bowl Updates

Every few days we will try to provide you with stories and tidbits surrounding the Orange Bowl that will tide you over till gameday in early January.
Hey, another recruiting story about Geno Smith and Tajh Boyd.

The Alston-Boyd Connection.

Wes Tonkery will get the start for the injured Terrence Garvin.

The KC Star breaks down the Holgorsen Offense.

What is this defense you speak of?

It will be a homecoming for many Mountaineers.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Gameweek! Orange Bowl Primer

Matchup:  WVU v Clemson

When:  Wed, 8:30p, ESPN

Line:  -3 Clemson

West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB:  3,978 yards, 25 TD, 7 INT
Shawne Alston, RB:  354 yards, 10 TD
Tavon Austin, WR:  2,294 all-purpose yards, 7 total touchdowns 
Stedman Bailey, WR:  67 rec, 1,197 yards, 11 TD

Clemson Players to Watch:
Tajh Boyd, QB:  3,578 yards, 31 TD, 10 INT
Andre Ellington, RB:  1,062 yards, 10 TD
Sammy Watkins, WR:  77 rec, 1,153 yards, 11 TD
Andre Branch, DE:  78 total tackles, 16 TFL, 10.5 sacks


Welcome to the BCS, Dana.  You'll love it here...and the fans will love you even more if this becomes a constant.  Of course, it will be much more difficult when WVU moves to the Big 12, but for now the Mountaineers will be a force every year in the weak Big East.  Holgorsen did well to silence critics in year one, but by his own admission he'd tell you the team needs to get better.  There were certainly some inconsistencies in all facets of the game, but a strong finish propelled WVU into the Orange Bowl.  Now, how do Holgy's boys close out the season.

Shawne Alston, it's your time to shine.  Especially with the injury to Dustin Garrison.  Alston won't be the fastest guy out there, but the junior has been a very solid piece to Holgorsen's offense.  Alston does have 10 touchdowns this year, and is very effective on short-yardage.  Now they will look for Alston to hopefully break a few tackles and help WVU control the clock...and the scoreboard.

West Virginia's defense will be in a battle to try to slow down the tiger attack.  Clemson is more balanced than possibly any team WVU has faced this season, with elite plamakers at all the skilled positions.  Sammy Watkins might be the best receiver in college football, and he's a freshman.  Andre Ellington rushed for over a 1,000 yards this season.  Meanwhile, former WVU commit, Tajh Boyd has had a breakout year throwing for 31 touchdowns.  The Mountaineers may have to sacrifice some aggression if things are slipping early.  If this is Jeff Casteel's final game has DC, let's hope it's his finest hour.  

What if we're all wrong?  What if neither offense shows up, and the game ends 10-6?  Or both defenses just dominate, and neither team scores 20.  That would be epic.  Hell, even Dabo Swinney thinks it's going to be a shootout.  So, whats the possibility of the unexpected?  Slim to none.  Don't be crazy, take the over.  

Orange Bowl Updates

Every few days we will try to provide you with stories and tidbits surrounding the Orange Bowl that will tide you over till gameday in early January.

Wait, Brodrick Jenkins and Sammy Watkins were high school teammates?  I haven't heard this yet.

J.D. Woods excited to play in Bowl and potentially start.

Alston to get the start with Garrison being injured.

Dana Holgorsen on the right amount of preparation.  

Hey, a WVU article from Big 12 country...sweet

Interesting take on WVU from the view of officials.  

Follow the press conference live this morning on the Orange Bowl Facebook page.