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    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    All of the "talent" real or just hype?-Noel Devine

    I keep reading that WVU is loaded with talent. I have written the same. The question that comes to mind is: Hype or not? I will start with the most hyped player on the team. I hope to break down the rest of the "talent" in the days to come.

    Noel Devine. Well if this kid needs further explanation I would say you haven't been watching this team in the last 3 years. He is a senior who has done nothing short of living up to all the 5 Star accolades he received when he was being recruited out of high school. His numbers have born that out as well. In the 38 (out of a possible 39) games he has participated in he has contributed the following: 520 rushing attempts 3,381 yards and 23 touchdowns. That breaks down to a rushing average of 6.5 yards per carry for his career. His longest carry from scrimmage was 92 yards but that is just one example of the explosive rushes witnessed since he has been a Mountaineer. He basically is a one man highlight real. He has also contributed 64 catches for 452 yards and a touchdown. It is believed that he will be utilized in this capacity even more this year as "the plan" is to get him more touches. Finally for his career he has also returned 30 kicks for 674 yards for a 22.5 yard average. Again, it is believed that he will be utilized in this capacity with greater frequency this year. If given the ball good things shall happen. Bottom line Noel Devine is for real not hype but "talent".

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Big East Bowl Tie-ins in order of selection...

    It appears from the above that the Big East has 6 teams that can go bowling this year if eligible (at least 6 wins (one win can be against FCS school if win wasn't counted in previous year)). However, there is more to the story. The Notre Dame issue is alive and well. Champ Sports may select Notre Dame one year out of the 4 it has contracted with the Big East. So really only 5 bowls are a lock for Big East teams.

    The order of selection is somewhat interesting as well. The BCS Bowls: BCS Championship; Tostitos Fiesta Bowl; Allstate Sugar Bowl; Fed Ex Orange Bowl; and Rose Bowl Game, shall select the Big East Champ in that order. Once that selection has been made the BCS may (it has never happened) select another BCS Bowl eligible team (to be eligible a team must finish in the top 15 in BCS rankings).

    Once that mess is cleared up. The Champs Sports Bowl may select either Notre Dame or a Big East Team remaining to play its choice of ACC team. Notice I didn't say the team that finished second in the Big East Standings. The only place that the standings dictate selection is the first place team. This selection process is found on the Big East Football Page. So the Champs then selects from the remaining eligible teams.

    After Champs has made its selection the Meineke Car Care Bowl shall select a Big East team from the remaining eligible teams to square off against its pick of an ACC team. (There was a twitter rumor circulated by the Meineke Car Care Bowl site that they now had the second selection but I have not been able to confirm this. Until Big East confirms this I am going with what is posted from their official site.)

    After MCCB makes its selection then the brand spanking new, New Era Pinstripe Bowl Shall make its selection from the remaining Big East pool of teams to square off against its pick from the Big 12. I, for one, am excited about this addition to the Big East bowl games. I think this bowl could develop into a large payday for the Big East.

    After NEPB makes its pick things get interesting. The Big East, SEC, and Conference USA have entered into a horse-trading arrangement with two bowls: The Autozone Liberty Bowl and the PapaJohns.com Bowl. One of those two bowl games shall have the next available pick from the Big East to play either its pick of Conference USA or its pick from the SEC. This will really come down to putting the best possible games together from the remaining picks. It allows for flexibility. War rooms for those bowls shall be up late on selection Sunday making their picks.

    Once that mess is cleared up the Beef O Brady's Bowl has the final selection from the remaining Big East pool to slate against its pick from Conference USA.

    West Virginia benefits in the above scheme because in the event they don't win the Big East Championship (God Forbid) it usually is selected ahead of other teams in the Big East due to its marketability on TV and its loyal and well travelled fan base. Thus, when all else is almost equal WVU will be the team selected by the bowl. My feeling is that we are going to either be BCS bowling or playing in Orlando or Charlotte this season. It is unlikely that we would fall below those bowls, though were we not to play in BCS Bowl I wouldn't mind spending New Years in New York.

    So to review. It is likely that the Big East will have 5 teams competing in bowl games this year. There theoretically be 7 teams taken but I won't hold my breath. I know it is pretty early to discuss bowl games but I hope you will have this blog post to use as a reference throughout the season for prognostication.

    Go Eers!!!

    Da Geek

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    WVU is tied for 24 in Coaches and 25th in AP. Frankly a good place to be.

    PRE-SEASON POLLS: I am excited by the prospect of starting in the Top 25. Last year if you remember we were no where near that list. I realize that sPitt is ahead of us in both polls but I am not concerned too much about that. I truly believe that we are in a very good spot. If we do have a productive season we are in striking distance to make a climb. Pollsters are obviously concerned about our "new QB". Geno shall just have to do his best to persuade the voters one game at a time.

    For the readers, this Blog shall do a poll but we don't post one until 6 weeks into season. The reason for this is that we really know very little about the incarnations of each of the teams until we see something from them. Presumably we shall know a lot after 6 weeks as most of the teams will have at least 5 games under their belts by then. I am looking for voters for this poll. Please comment to this post if you are interested in submitting votes for the Blog Poll. I shall expect you to comment during the season on other points frequently.

    Other Notes:
    • WVU is having annual "Fan Day" at Mountaineer Field tomorrow. Anyone going to attend?
    • Camp has closed and it was thought to be a good one by both players and staff.
    • Team is now in Coastal Carolina preparations. I say that a little tongue and cheek as I think we are going to be preparing for Marshall as well. We have some business to settle with our former Coach in Huntington.
    • Be sure to watch WDTV (Clarksburg, WV) Jed Drenning, The Signal Caller, will be doing periodic shows regarding the Mountaineers this season.
    Go EERS!!!

    Da Geek

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    It is looking like Jeremy Johnson is thinking of leaving.

    For second day in a row Jeremy Johnson was a no-show at practice. The issue may be as simple as home-sickness. He is after all from Texas and Morgantown, WV is not Texas. There once was a young man from Daphine Al., which was homesick too. He turned out alright here at the ole WV. Maybe the upper-class-men can talk to him and help him work through it. I hope that he can overcome this issue. If not then I wish him well. This does bring about some interesting issues at the QB spot. Does this mean Coley White is back in the mix or do they just go with Barry Brunetti at the #2 spot. Hmm, things will be interesting for a while. I for one hope that this is a problem quickly solved.

    Da Geek

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    What WVU Players have proven special on offense? Who shall join the list this year?

    The simple and obvious answers to question 1 would be Noel Devine and Jock Sanders. Since their arrival on campus 4 years ago the "little guys" have produced. Noel and Joche came to a team that already had incredible talent at the running back/slot receiver positions. What has been amazing is the fact that they both made contributions early and as the Steve Slaton's and Darius Reynaud's left for the NFL they just plugged themselves into those rolls and WVU never looked back. This season we see the two of them leading the offense in terms of on the field prowess as well as Senior leadership. They were both invited by Coach Stewart to represent the offense at the Big East Media days and both approached that honor with class and dignity. I have been impressed with both these "lads" for so many reasons but probably most of all for their development into men. WVU is blessed with both of them.

    The answer to question 2 would in my humble opinion include several other gentlemen. I think Tavon Austin tops the list of newbies. While showing some signs of explosion last season, I anticipate a much larger dose of that in this one. Joining both Noel Brandon and Jock in return duties again this year could prove to be a lot for other teams to contend with. I would want to neither punt the ball or kick off to us. ( Let us hope that we only have to endure 1 kick-off a game; but I anticipate plenty of punt returns-shameless defensive plug intended.) In addition to Tavon I would include Ryan Clark and Bradley Starks. These two shall have increased responsibilities in the offense this season. They have begun to receive praise and accolades from the coaching staff and I simply think they have too much to offer not to get those ever desired touches. While there are several other members of the team who I think can be stars on offense I think that these 5 "lads" Noel, Jock, Tavon, Ryan, and Brad shall have Toni C calling their names often "...and that is another West Virgina touchdown" (Clicking on the image shall take you to MSNSportsNet.Com. Has a great article on Tavon.)

    I am excited by the prospect of watching them all in this 2010 campaign.

    Da Geek

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Football Practice

    Who has decided to take this season serious? It appears that the Juniors and Seniors in this class have made "work" a high priority at practice. From what I have read, and from the coaches statements at the pressers after practice, I have heard that the team is "ahead of schedule". This is very encouraging. The high points would be this:
    1. Safeties strong starting corps. Need some additional depth but looking good.
    2. Corners most depth we have had in years. Brandon Hogan, Keith Tandy, Brodrick Jenkins are all vying for the same jobs. Good problem to have when 3 players looking for 2 spots. Plus we have 2 more kids on the 2 deep.
    3. Line-backers Strong starting corps. has depth issues. I really can't get a consistent pulse on this unit yet.
    4. Defensive Line. Strong starting unit. Have as much depth as I have ever seen. This could be a very special year for those guys.
    Over all the Defense is looking to be a very good team. Could be among the best (on paper).
    1. QB: I would say that this job has a clear favorite in Geno Smith. It is his job to lose. The reports are that his foot is not a problem. I hope that this is true. Coley White has officially left the position for slot receiver. Thus it is a battle for the number 2 spot and that is a fight between 2 true Frosh, Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson. These 2 are in a dog-fight and in fact are pushing Geno pretty hard. While it scares me that we are playing with such youth at this position, I am encouraged by the level of talent. This position if serviceable could lead to a pretty decent offense. (Photo provided by TheSignalCaller-click on photo to read Jed's latest thoughts)
    2. RB: Well I would say that this job is pretty clear. When we are in small ball it is Noel. When we are in Big ball it is Clarke and Alston. Jonathen Hargett will get some touches but this position is one where the super-star should get the carries. Noel qualifies as a super-star.
    3. Slot's, TE and Receivers: My take on this is that Jock, Tavon and Brad will be on the field the most this year. But keep your eyes peeled for Coley, Stedman, and new-comer Sticks. At the Tight end Will Johnson looks to be ready as well. As a whole this unit could be very productive. If the QB can distribute the ball look to be excited from the air.
    4. The O-line is pretty established at all but the Right Tackle position. Plenty of experience at the other four positions. This group shall determine a lot for the production of this offense. I am hopeful that we shall see improvement at the pass blocking. The run block was actually pretty good last season.
    As a whole the offense could be good. It needs to be better than last years unit to contend for the title. 26 points per game will not get it done. So let us hope we shall find more end-zones this season.

    Special Teams:
    The good news is that we have Tyler Bitencourt back. Field Goals look to be a positive. The bad news is we don't know who our punter/place kickers are. They have received mixed reviews thus far. On the kick off return/punt return side this should be solid as we will see a greater use of Noel in this lineup. We already had very explosive guys in Tavon and Brandon so adding a steady diet of Noel will make teams nervous. Kick off coverage has had little pub thus far but it has been delegated from Stewart so it could look different. We need this part of our team to improve 100 fold.

    Well that is the first breakdown of practice this year from the Geek I hope it was informative.

    Go Eers!!!

    Da Geek

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Fan base and message board fodder what a disgusting place to be sometimes.

    I feel compelled to write this as I am a member of all the West Virginia message boards. Normally it is just a place for neurotic fan bases to air grievances and push agendas but today I have witnessed the ugliest part of this scene. A member of that board decided to attack a sports writer for posting WVU's woes with NCAA. Among things that happened were threats on his wife and posting of his address. I find this mob mentality to be deplorable. I have no problem attacking a guys thoughts or his article but that kind of stuff needs to be eliminated from the message board climate. I for one don't like negative press for my Alma mater but I also don't want the messenger to be punished for simply informing me. Whether or not an agenda is being forged WVU is at fault for WVU's mistakes. The reporters are just doing their jobs.

    Da Geek

    Pat White's Number 5 now to be donned by "Sticks" aka I MAC

    How do you feel about this number coming out of a 1 year retirement? I am very frustrated by it. I believe that Pat White has earned the right to have the Jersey placed on the wall of honor. While I am hopeful that I Mac will be a great reciever and do exceptional things for our school to me it is desturbing. I suppose the upside is that fans no longer have an obsolete Jersey to where to games but that is kind of the point. That number means something. I hope that by letting others wear it, it doesn't lose that impact. Long Live Pat White!!!

    Go Eers

    Da Geek

    Compliance issues at WVU what does this all mean?

    I am pretty arrogant but even I don't really know the answer to this. 1st we have practice-gate now we have spider-gate. What I would proffer is the most damaging thing about this is the fact that our school is in the press for all the wrong reasons. Who is responsible? Well that comes down to 3 folks in my humble opinion: President Clements, AD Luck, and of course the WVU Head Football Coach Bill Stewart. I realize that the compliance officer will be the scape goat but the above folks have to understand and "cultivate" an environment of compliance with NCAA Rules. Regardless of how "important" these rules are they have to be followed. And once the NCAA has its spotlight pointed at you the last thing you need to do is mess up again. This kind of thing can have both short term and long term negative effects. Please oh please WVU get on the stick and get the spotlight off of us, unless it is for something good.

    Da Geek

    Youtube Highlights for South Florida Game

    Big East Champions

    Bruce Irvin

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    How important are early verbal commitments?

    How many pushups do you predict Brock will press in Marshall game?