Tag:West Virginia
Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Arizona hires BYU ex-coordinator Anae

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In the wake of his Wildcats' 36-10 Alamo Bowl demolition at the hands of Oklahoma State (and final, disappointing 2010 record of 7-6), Mike Stoops promised changes in Tucson. And the departure of co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh to follow Dana Holgorsen (somewhat ironically, the architect of the Wildcats' Alamo embarrassment) to West Virginia would seem to give Stoops a perfect opportunity to shake things up for the nation's 89th-ranked rushing offense. But his latest coaching hire seems like more of the same.

Bedenbaugh, fellow co-offensive coordinator Seth Littrell (the Wildcats' primary play-caller), and former 'Cat OC and current Louisiana Tech head coah Sonny Dykes were all hired by Stoops out of the Mike Leach coaching tree that also produced Holgorsen. Instead of moving away from that philosophy, however, Stoops has embraced it once again by replacing Bedenbaugh with former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae , yet another Leach disciple.

In a lot of ways, Anae's hire makes sense all the same. Bedenbaugh's departure puts Arizona in the market for an offensive line coach, which just so happened to be Anae's role at Texas Tech before becoming the Cougars' play-caller. There was also no lack of productivity during Anae's years at BYU; until this year's crater job under a pair of first-time quarterbacks, BYU's offense had finished in the top 25 nationally in total offense for four straight years on Anae's watch. If Stoops wants to strip Littrell of his play-calling duties, Anae would seem to be a viable candidate to take them over.

All the same, if Stoops was serious about really changing things up, he'd have plucked an apple off of a coaching tree other than the same Lubbock-grown one he's visited so many times before. Staying the course may prove the proper decision -- until this season, the Leach brigade had played a major, major role in the program's steady improvement under Stoops -- but if 2010 was the start of a long-term downswing rather than a one-year fluke, Stoops may wish he'd have taken the opportunity to plot a very different course for his offense.

Posted on: December 29, 2010 1:01 pm
 

Geno Smith to have surgery on his foot

Posted by Tom Fornelli

West Virginia's season came to a disappointing end on Tuesday night when the Mountaineers lost to N.C. State 23-7 in the Champs Sports Bowl. While quarterback Geno Smith was probably disappointed at the way he and the team played in the game, I'm guessing there was a part of him who was also relieved to know the year had come to an end.  

As it turns out, Smith played the entire season with a stress fracture in his left foot.  A stress fracture he'll now be having surgery on in January to repair, which is a bit of a blow to both Smith and the West Virginia offense.  

You see, Smith had surgery to repair another stress fracture in the same foot last season and missed spring practice because of it.  Making things worse is the fact that if Smith is forced to miss spring practice again in 2011, he'll be missing out on a lot of time spent learning the new system that offensive coordinator/head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen will be implementing.

Not exactly ideal circumstances for West Virginia, Smith or Holgorsen.

I have a feeling that Smith may be held out of spring practice next year because, after suffering the fracture two years in a row, odds are that West Virginia will want to make sure the foot is fully recovered before letting Smith test it out on a football field. After all, it's better to have a healthy quarterback in the fall who missed a few practices than an injured one all season.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:43 am
Edited on: August 20, 2011 8:59 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Champs Sports Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

N.C. State rides Russell Wilson's 275 yard, 2 TD performance to a 23-7 win over West Virginia


N.C. STATE

Offense: Russell Wilson has been the cornerstone of the NC State offense since he took over the position as a freshman.  Tuesday was one of those better performances that NC State fans will fondly remember for years.  The Wolfpack have only been to three bowl games since 2003, and the 2010 team was determined to leave their mark.  Particularly after falling one game short of the ACC Championship Game, NC State now gets to end the season on a good note.  Wilson and the offense was a big part of that.  GRADE: B+

Defense: NC State's linebackers lived up to their hype against West Virginia, bringing the heat on West Virginia's Geno Smith.  On several big third downs, the Wolfpack dialed up pressure from the linebackers and forced a bad pass/checkdown that led to a punt.  When Geno Smith put the ball on the ground, the Wolfpack always had a man there to fall on the ball.  While nothing was stunning, the NC State defense was opportunistic.  Clearly outmatched at some positions, the defense simply came to play while West Virginia's offense did not.  GRADE: B
  
Coaching: NC State has to be happy to have Tom O'Brien on board in Raleigh.  He was able to give the Wolfpack fans a 9 win season, something that hasn't been done since 2002 and ranks as the second best finish in program history.  In the same game, O'Brien picked up his 100th career win.  Props to the rest of the coaching staff for spreading West Virginia's tough defense out of the 3-3-5 to cover Wilson's many threats.  All in all, good day for NC State football fans. GRADE: A-  

WEST VIRGINIA
 
Offense: How many different ways can I hint at different forms of excrement?  The West Virginia offense is obviously the problem that needs to be fixed.  Mountaineer fans are particularly excited about incoming coach-to-be Dana Holgerson after watching the offense cough the ball up five times against NC State.  Geno Smith put together several strong performances near the end of the regular season, but he could not keep his hands on the ball - fumbling two hand off's and throwing an interception.  The offense was horrendous, and that has to be awfully difficult to swallow after the standard set by Pat White less than a half-decade ago. GRADE: F

Defense: West Virginia has thrived on their defense here in the second half of the season, but when Russell Wilson hit his rhythm the Mountaineers had no answers.  The key to shutting down Wilson was to avoid letting him get comfortable and try to disrupt the timing by getting to him in the backfield.  The Mountaineers put Wilson on his ground a few times, but he still used short passes to slowly move the ball on West Virginia. But the turnovers by West Virginia's offense put the defense in pretty difficult spots, and they did do a good job of forcing kicker Josh Czajkowski to beat them.  GRADE: C

Coaching: It feels lazy to try and put some of the blame on the whole Bill Stewart/Dana Holgerson situation, but you can't deny that West Virginia just looked a little confused on the field.  NC State doesn't do a lot of tricky things on the field, and you have to guess that the off-field distractions might have something to do with that.  Feel bad penalizing only head coach Bill Stewart on this one, but if "Coaching" includes the entire administrative staff - we gotta lay the hammer here.  GRADE: F

GAME GRADE: The game was a bit of a snore at times, with offenses exchanging punts a good bit in the first half.  It was good to see Russell Wilson have a strong performance in what might likely be his last football game ever.  If Wilson does decide to forego his senior year of football to join the Colorado Rockies basketball organization, at least he will know that he finished his football career in style.  The turnovers at the end of the game reached a point of being absurd in the fourth quarter.  Feel pretty bad for Bill Stewart, who I've always considered one of the more likable coaches in the Big East, and hopefully West Virginia will send him off with a successful 2011.  GRADE: B-
Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:10 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Champs Sports Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Basics: West Virginia faces NC State, 6:30 PM Tuesday

Why You Should Watch: Both West Virginia and NC State fell just a game shy of an opportunity to play for a BCS bid, and they will each be looking to turn that disappointment around and finish the season strong.  The game is also loaded with exciting playmakers - Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, Russell Wilson, Nate Irving - to name a few. Both offenses have had high scoring performances this season, though West Virginia's defense ranks among the best in the NCAA in scoring defense.  While Wilson still has one year left of eligibility, many believe that Tuesday will the be his final game in a Wolfpack football uniform.  He has already signed a contract to play with the Colorado Rockies, who he has already bypassed one year for his junior season.  Wilson has been part of Tom O'Brien's success at NC State, and I expect he will be looking to cap his career off with another performance.  West Virginia also has an interesting storyline with the awkward announcement that Bill Stewart will be phased out before the 2012 season.  Basically a sitting duck until Dana Holgorsen takes over, Stewart will fire up the Mountaineers for their seventh ACC bowl opponent since 2002.    
 
Keys to victory for West Virginia:  While Geno Smith has had an impressive second half of the season, the Mountaineers are living on the play of their defense.  West Virginia's defense, particularly in the second half, simply refused to give up the big play against their opponents.  Russell Wilson has a tendancy to wear a defense down with lots of pitch and catch, so West Virginia cannot let him get in a rhythm.  If NC State keeps this game close, I have a feeling it's going to be a shootout.  If the Mountaineers can shut down Wilson, Geno Smith should find it easy to catch the NC State secondary napping for a big play or two.

Keys to victory for NC State: Match West Virginia's intensity on defense.  While not one of the superior defensive units in the ACC, NC State's linebackers are the cream of the crop.  Led by Nate Irving, they will have an opportunity to create big plays to slow West Virginia's momentum.  When NC State is blitzing the quarterback, they mask their shortcomings in the secondary.  If they allow West Virginia's offense to keep them on their heels, the Pack will struggle mightily to play keep-up. 

The Champs Sports Bowl is like: The third place match in international competition.  Both teams fell just a game short of their conference championship hopes, and now this is their consolation.  Much of this game will be decided by who decides to really "bring it."  If both teams do, it could be a thrilling game in Orlando. 
Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:12 am
 

Seems nobody wants to watch the ACC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Today is a good day to be a college football fan as we're all blessed with the chance to watch not just one, but two bowl games this evening, the first time we've had multiple games on the same day since the first three bowl games were played on December 18th.  The games provide a couple of decent matchups as well, as all four teams come from BCS conferences with West Virginia taking on N.C. State and Iowa facing Missouri.  Though if recent television ratings have taught us one thing, not many eyes will be on N.C. State and West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.

The Wall Street Journal published a story on the top television draws in bowl games since 1998 based on how ratings performed against expectations. The usual suspects sit atop the list of teams who draw more viewers.  Teams like USC (+28.7%), Florida State (+22.6%), Notre Dame (+20.8%), Miami (+15.7%) and Michigan (+12%) all draw in more eyeballs than expected.  Of course, when you look at the bottom of the list, you find that outside of Florida State, not many people seem to care about ACC teams in bowl games.

Four of the bottom five teams are from the ACC, including N.C. State.  In dead last we have Virginia (-18.3%) followed by N.C. State (-17%), Georgia Tech (-14.7%), LSU (-8.9%) and Clemson (-7.9%).  As you can see, LSU is the only non-ACC team in the bottom five, and honestly, I'm a bit surprised to find them there.

You'll also notice that there are no SEC teams in the top five, so I guess everyone must hate the SEC too.  Or, you can explain it by the fact that the SEC tends to play in a lot of national championships and other BCS bowls, which are expected to get higher ratings and skew the numbers a bit.  Still, even if that's the case, feel free to use the "Nobody watches the SEC!" argument next time you're dealing with an SEC-homer.  They won't care, but you'll need as much ammo as you can get.
Posted on: December 23, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Trio of Mountaineers ineligible for bowl game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

At the rate things are currently going, West Virginia won't have many players left on its roster by the time its date against North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl next week gets here.  Yesterday the news came that the team's top cornerback Brandon Hogan wouldn't be able to play in the game thanks to an injury, and on Thursday the school announced three more players who won't be able to play.

Those these three aren't hurt physically as much as mentally.  Seems they don't have what it takes to make the grade.
Three West Virginia football players, including a starter on the offensive line, have been declared academically ineligible for the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 28 against North Carolina State.  
Sophomore Joe Madsen, the team's starting center, reserve defensive back Eain Smith, a junior, and reserve junior defensive lineman Josh Taylor did not meet NCAA eligibility requirements and will not participate in the bowl. Smith and Taylor, while not starters, are contributors to West Virginia's defense.

Maybe Dana Holgorsen can spend some time tutoring while he waits for Bill Stewart to give him the head coaching job.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 6:56 pm
 

Assistant salaries: Who's overpaid? Underpaid?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After earlier compiling a database of all 120 FBS head coaching salaries for the recently completed 2010 season, USA Today today released a look at the salaries of the nation's assistant coaches, all 907 of which are available for comparison here . Your highest-paid assistant: Texas ex-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp at $900,000 per year. The lowest amongst coaches actually drawing a paycheck? Leon Lett -- you remember him ! -- who's being paid just $12,000 to coach defensive tackles at Louisiana-Monroe.

Inbetween on the scale are some 900 other coaches (not counting those working at private institutions whose salaries are not public information). Ignoring certain obvious choices (yes, Greg Davis was overpaid, yes, Dana Holgorsen was a bargain), looking only at 2010 results, and making allowances for coaches in their first year at a new school, here's three choices for the country's most underpaid and most overpaid assistant coaches:

MOST DUE FOR A RAISE

Don Treadwell ($235,250), offensive coordinator, Michigan State.
Despite possessing few playmakers known to fans outside the Midwest, Treadwell guided the Spartans to a top-20 finish in yards per-play and offered his team an enivable balance with better than 2,000 yards rushing and 2,800 passing. He also took over for two games as interim head coach while Mark Dantonio dealt with a heart ailment, winning both. And he did all this for the cost of less than many SEC position coaches.

Jeff Casteel ($372,268), defensive coordinator, West Virginia. Casteel's not doing too badly for himself, salary-wise, but compared to what his fellow DCs are earning in the SEC, Big 12, etc., he's still a bargain. With virtually no nationally-recognized players and few star recruits, Casteel quietly put together the nation's third-ranked unit in total defense and third in scoring defense; the Mountaineers were the only defense in the country to allow 21 points or fewer in every game.

Tom Osborne ($220,000), special teams/tight ends coach, Oregon. Osborne put together arguably the best set of special teams units in the country, leading the Ducks to top 20 finishes in net punting and kickoff coverage, coaxing a 12-of-16 performance from his two kickers, and along with returner Cliff Harris creating the most dangerous punt return unit in the nation, one that racked up better than 18 yards per return and scored five game-changing touchdowns. The Ducks probably aren't in the national title game without him.

Honorable Mention: Manny Diaz ($260,000), defensive coordinator, Mississippi State; Pete Kwiatkowski ($259,520), defensive coordinator, Boise State; Al Borges ($205,000), offensive coordinator, San Diego State.

MOST DUE TO NOT RECEIVE A RAISE

Norm Chow ($640,000), offensive coordinator, UCLA.
That figure includes a $250,000 retention bonus designed to keep Chow in Los Angeles, but maybe the Bruins would have been better off being spared paying the nation's eighth-highest assistant's salary for the nation's 109th-best offense.

Tyrone Nix ($500,000), defensive coordinator, Ole Miss. For Nix's salary, the Rebels could have had Gus Malzahn, who earned the exact same amount this season from Auburn. Malzahn will earn quite a bit more next year, obviously, but Nix won't after overseeing a defense that utterly collapsed in the embarrassing season-opening loss to Jacksonville State and went on to finish 105th in yards allowed per-play.

Stacy Searels ($301,200), offensive line coach, Georgia. Offensive line coaches do very well in the SEC, with several topping the $300,000 mark. If we ignore the low-hanging fruit that was Steve Addazio's season in Gainesville, none had a more disappointing season than Searels, whose Bulldog charges looked to have the makings of one of the nation's strongest ground games at the close of 2009 and entered 2010 with as much experience (and talent, arguably) as any line in the country. Instead the Dawgs finished 10th in the SEC in rushing and middle-of-the-pack in sacks allowed (despite ranking 9th in passes attempted) as Searels wound up forced to juggle his lineup late in the year. Searels has done outstanding work before and likely will again, but 2010 wasn't his best moment.

Dishonorable Mention: Chuck Long and Carl Torbush ($350,000 each), offensive and defensive coordinators, Kansas ; Nick Holt ($650,000), defensive coordinator, Washington; Greg Robinson ($277,100), defensive coordinator, Michigan.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 12:05 pm
 

WVU to be without Brandon Hogan in bowl game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When West Virginia takes on North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl it's going to have quite a void to fill in its secondary.  Head coach -- for now -- Bill Stewart announced during his press conference on Tuesday that the team's top cornerback, Brandon Hogan, will not be playing in the game thanks to a torn ACL.

"It just kills me, but not near as bad as it kills him," Stewart said on Tuesday. "Brandon Hogan played with a bicep injury, one in which many wouldn't have played with -- that's how tough the kid is. I was holding out hope that he would be ready to play in this football game, for his sake and for the seniors' sake. He's such an important cog on this defense."

Hogan suffered the injury during West Virginia's final game of the season against Rutgers on December 4th.  The team had been hoping that Hogan would be able to put off surgery on the knee until after the game, but that's obviously not going to happen at this point.  Stewart said that either sophomore Pat Miller or freshman Brodrick Jones will start in Hogan's place, and that the team may blitz more to try and make up for Hogan's absence.

Why he'd give away that strategy during a press conference, I don't know.

This won't be the first game Hogan has missed this season, as he was suspended earlier this season following a DUI arrest.  Hogan finishes his senior season with 37 tackles and 3 interceptions.
 
 
 
 
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