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 rivals.com 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.