Maybe….

…this is coming back?  I feel compelled for hoops season, but it’s been a long hiatus.  Plus, I should be writing that Thesis.  But Huggins has us loaded.  It’s probably the most talented Mountie Men’s hoops team of my lifetime.  Will they get it done?  Will I bring back the blog?  Only time will tell…

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Hoya means “what”?

Two teams play basketball.  One is obviously more physical, and dominates the boards.  The other runs a fancy offense that gets consistently disrupted, and moreover, their jump shots just don’t fall.  All told, one team muscles its way to victory, one lopsided enough that the losing team is too spent to really contest the outcome at the end of the game.  The teams jerseys say “Georgetown” and “West Virginia”.

I’ve seen that game over and over, but tonight was the first night they were switched.  Amazing that we did that to the school of Ewing, Mourning and Mutumbo.

I knew we would win when Ruoff finally buried a three after being Cruella Deville cold all night.

I knew we would win going away when he drove the lane and dunked on some helpless Hoya.

Don’t count this team out of the tournament yet.

Seriously.  Look at the schedule.  If they’re .500 in conference on February 1st, we’re going dancing.

(PS- I know this blog has been dorment.  My apologies.  Maybe that will change.)

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10 Things That Will Go Down Tomorrow: UConn

Who's faster?

Who's faster?

Well, it’s back to the land of optimism for Mountaineer fans everywhere. We beat a good decent Auburn team, and we looked like the offensive juggernaut of old. All is well. Right? Right? Turns out, no one knows for sure, but with the rest of the conference seemingly unable to win a game, we should be fine. Just, you know, take care of business against a UConn team that is supposedly one of the better teams in the Big East. So why aren’t I excited, or even remotely concerned? Because this isn’t basketball. Without Jim Calhoun, I can’t believe the Huskies stand a chance. So tomorrow afternoon, while you nurse your hangover and wonder how that greasepaint got all over your thighs, I predict these things will occur:

  1. We run #5, repeatedly.
  2. The D doesn’t give up a touchdown. Bold, I know, but I feel like this defense is beginning to gel.
  3. Calhoun doesn’t look half as drunk as Huggins did in his sideline interview.
  4. Dorrell Jalloh runs wild in the secondary.
  5. Jeff Mullen makes a couple of interesting, but successful, play calls.
  6. JB gets back in the game on some “wildcat” type sets.
  7. Nate Sowers comes up with a big play for the Defense.
  8. Bubble screen. Works. Huh.
  9. We stay injury free. Knock on wood.
  10. Mountaineers cruise, but Stew gives the TV camera more than one of his ‘daggummit’ faces.

WVU: 27   UConn: 12

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Tommy Bowden’s coming to Morgantown.

Okay, okay, it’s not exactly what the headline makes it sound like. He’s not coming to coach. He’s just coming to partake in game day in Morgantown just like all the rest of us.

Clemson beat writer Paul Strelow mentioned it on his blog while inquiring about the Bowden family rivalry:

Next week’s game at Florida State would have marked the 10th Bowden Bowl. Asked him if that whole week will be awkward. He said his son and daughter will be going to the game, but he says he’s going to finally attend a game at his alma mater, West Virginia, and do some tailgating.

Hey, sounds like fun to me! I anticipate to see this in the light blue lot before next Saturday’s tilt with the ‘Nati:

Don't look so bummed Tommy, it's Gameday in Morgantown!

Don't look so bummed Tommy. It's game day in Morgantown!

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A look at how they look at us.

So…. the team was on national TV last Thursday. Big win, you remember it, right? We might have griped about how our two early season losses took us out of the national spotlight but last week all eyes were on us. Team lived up to the hype too. How’d the rest of us do? Well, when I loaded my favorite sports blog Monday morning, this was what I saw:

Actually, the post is kind of funny and the behavior in the video is nothing out of the blue or too big of a deal.

Then I read a Sporting News blog that rambled through the usual redneck stereotypes. It didn’t bother me that much, honestly, until it said:

The people of Virginia Tech seem like foreign dignitaries compared to the crowd in Morgantown.

Okay. Now I’m mad. But not nearly as mad as the comment war that ensued under that post, but mad. I agreed with one commenter who thought we should “embrace it”. I love Mountaineer Field. I love Mountaineer fans. I love the polite ones and I love the rude ones. I’ve definitely been both embarrassed and embarrassing at Mountaineer Field. I think, at the end of the day, it just comes with the territory. It’s college football, and the passion is beautiful. People express it however they choose and no one speaks for everyone. It is what it is, and I wouldn’t change a damn thing about it.

That said, we get another go ’round with a night game in two weeks. The Cincy game has been moved to ESPNU and kick set at 7pm. Should be an equally raucous atmosphere.

And while all of us were worrying about what we looked like on TV, former running back Ed Collington was busy robbing people in Sunnyside. Economic downturn and all.

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Auburn Recap

Now this is what I like to see....

Now this is what I like to see....

FINALLY. I believe that’s the word on everyone’s mind the day after. The Offense looked like it’s supposed to look, the Defense came to play and there was little-to-no bumbling by the coaching staff. Great night to be in Morgantown.

Now, we do have to face the fact that this Auburn team is by no means the cream of the SEC. BUT, they are a formidable opponent and their defense is as good as any that we’re going to see in conference play. I thought the offensive play calls were good, and the execution was even better. There was more diversity last night then we’ve seen all season. If we look at the ‘Eers four touchdowns, each of them is unique in it’s own way:

  • Alric Arnett’s second quarter touchdown grab came from 44 yards out. Most touchdown passes we score from 40+ yards away are short passes and long runs. Not this one. Good ole #5 just uncorked one, went up top and hit his man in stride. Great play.
  • Dorrell Jalloh’s third quarter score, from two yards out (that’s right, we’re passing it in from 6 feet away) was a well designed pass play that was executed to perfection. Jollah’s man got confused as he cut through traffic and he was left wide open for the score.
  • Jalloh’s second TD, coming in the fourth quarter, was the opposite. White hit him on a short route and he then used his athleticism to break the play wide open. Sure. you could argue poor tackling on Auburn’s part, but not a lot of guys are going to make that play.
  • Finally, to ice the game, our only rushing TD came from 30 yards out by Noel Devine. What I wanted to see, and got to see, was more second level blocking from the o-line. That, coupled with our ability to pass the ball successfully, gave Noel plenty of room to run and he took care of business to the tune of 200+ yards. Great day for the run game AND we didn’t have to run White into the ground.

All in all, it was a complete victory. The fact that we unleashed 31 unanswered points is lost on no one, but let’s make sure to give the D big props, as well. The win was helped along by the absolutley raucous Night Game in Morgantown atmosphere. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve got to say, for the first time since the ECU game, I don’t feel alone in thinking that this team can still have a successful season.

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10 Things That Will Go Down Tomorrow: Auburn

Bo don't know bubble screens.

Bo don't know bubble screens.

So, it’s been awhile. My apologies. I understand that an entire week without a post, in blog years, is like a decade. It will never happen again. Scout’s honor. The long lay-off following the lackluster homecoming game made for some surly folks up here in Morgantown. There’s been plenty of back and forth about the booing. The Mountaineer Maniacs are even trying to do something about it, for some unknown reason. Obviously the key to not getting booed has less to do with reporting the culprits and more to do with not looking like a middle school team on the field. I digress, however, and it’s time for another rose-tinted look at what will go down under the lights tomorrow night at Mountaineer Field:

  1. The return of Pat White. “Return” meaning not just onto the field, but back to his rightful spot in Mountaineer lore. I doubt it will be for statistical feats, since the offense just isn’t clicking right now. I’m envisioning a clutch play, probably the game-winner.
  2. More second level blocking by the O-Line. They don’t have to spring another 92-yarder, but I’m looking to see them pick off a couple of linebackers for decent runs.
  3. JB back in his wildcard role. This time, he throws one to #5.
  4. Lou Holtz lisps for three whole hours on the telecast. Mentions Hitler twice and DickRod only once.
  5. Auburns D stifles us for a very sizable portion of the game…
  6. …but a couple of big plays are all we need, and all we get.
  7. I manage to find a way into the stadium after getting the shaft from the University’s Rube Goldberg-esque student ticket distribution system.
  8. Big hits by JT Thomas and the linebacking corps and even a little pass coverage to boot.
  9. Big Mac makes a Big Kick and begins to redeem his reputation with those who don’t know any better.
  10. The season finally turns around.

WVU: 17     Auburn:  16

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Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Eyes on the prize.

Eyes on the prize.

The Charleston Daily Mail is reporting that WVU is signing a home-and-home contract with the defending champion LSU Tigers for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.  Looks like the schedule isn’t getting any easier.

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Students not the only ones down on our offense.

Looks like you won't see this in Morgantown.

Looks like you won't see this in Morgantown.

Yep.  It’s official.  Tajh Boyd has “de-committed” from WVU.  Now, we can argue the minutue of verbal committments being non-binding, and the other ins and outs of recruiting.  All I know is that this is not good.  In fact, it’s bad.  Very bad.

Here’s what Boyd had to say about the whole thing:

“I didn’t feel it was fair to hold them up in their search for a quarterback and didn’t feel good about visiting other schools while committed so I decided to de-commit,” Boyd was quoted by Rivals.com. “I think I just made my decision too early and have been wanting to see what else is out there for a little while.

“I have a great deal of respect for West Virginia, the coaches and the fans but I think I’m looking for an offense that fits my style a bit better … I think it was best to make a clean break. I feel bad because I like Coach (Bill) Stewart and coach Beatty, but I have to do what’s best for me in the end.”

Great.  Just great.

Good to see the “sky is falling” mentality extends further than just those folks in the stands at Mountaineer Field.

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Syracuse Recap

Only one play worth talking about.  This one.

Only one play worth talking about. This one.

Phew.

It was ugly.  Offense was ugly.  Defense was ugly.  Crowd got ugly.  This was not the good natured homecoming romp it was supposed to be.  I know few expect exact predictions from the 10 Things… posts, and I’m usually really really wrong, but no one saw yesterday’s game coming.  Lowest number of points put up by the ‘Eers since Syracuse in 2005.  That game, of course, was the first game of the Pat White/Adam Bednarik experiment that only lasted half of the season.  Either way, you can consider it the starting point of this era of Mountaineer football, and one we don’t want to return to.

The offense was sluggish, though Devine looked good even before his game-breaker.  He needs the ball more.  The short passing game netted nothing on the field and got booed mercilessly in the stands. I’m beginning to think that the Mountaineers don’t actually have any downfield pass plays in the playbook.  Not having White running the show was a blow, of course, but JB is a perfectly good quarterback who should be able to come in without missing a beat.  Rarely was he put in position to make a play, and when he was, he didn’t.

The D also took a step back for the first time this season.  The seemed to concede all the mid-range passing routes, one Syracuse QB Cam Dantley took full advantage of.  It was nice seeing Nate Sowers make a big pick in the secondary, but that was really the only defensive bright spot for me.  The unit seemed to simply be holding the status quo against an offense they should have out-muscled and out-matched.  The time of possession mismatch was primarily due to offensive ineptitude, but giving up over 300 yards of offense to the Orange rests entirely on the shoulders of our defense.

All in all, I’m still cautiously optimistic.  We can still win the Big East.  Pat White has all the time he needs to get ready for Auburn and with #5, anything is still possible.

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