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Tag:West Virginia
Posted on: January 3, 2012 12:25 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2012 12:57 pm
 

Orange Bowl coaches ready for a close BCS game

Posted by Chip Patterson

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The four teams in action in the first BCS bowl games combined to score 162 points on the first college football day of 2012. But despite all the offense on display, the outcome of each game has been one score or less and determined by big plays on defense and in special teams.

Whether it was Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis dropping the ball just inches from the sideline, or Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson unable to hit a potential game-winning field goal from 35-yards out; the plays that have determined the first BCS bowl games have come in unexpected ways.

"You can't relax, however many plays are in the game, 160, plus your special teams, you've got to play every play like it's the play that's going to determine the outcome of the game," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney explained on Tuesday.  "That's the mentality you have to have, because when you look back, that's what you see. It's usually four, five, six plays that changed momentum, created opportunity and so forth."

In fact, neither of these teams would be in South Beach this week if it wasn't for a few key plays that led to wins earlier this season. Clemson's hot 8-0 start included huge comeback wins against Maryland, Florida State, and Auburn. West Virginia overcame a fourth-quarter deficit in each of their final four wins in the regular season. If Monday's BCS games were any indication of the way the Orange Bowl will play out, both of these squads should be ready to face the challenge.

"It's a three-sided game, and that's the one thing that we learned about a month and a half ago when we lost to Louisville," said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.  "Our team came together, and on all three sides of the ball we figured out that if all three sides of the ball don't play together and pick each other up to try to be fighting for the same goal, then you're probably not going to win very many games.  That's the one thing we did over the course of the last three games was play together."

More highlights from Dabo Swinney and Dana Holgorsen on Tuesday:

- While there are many upsides for the extra preparation time given to BCS bowl participants, Holgorsen did offer one interesting take on a downside. As coaches try to to do the best to prepare for the contest, the West Virginia head coach pointed out it is important not to over prepare.

"Yeah, you've got to be careful with time on your hands," Holgorsen said.  "Coaches have a tendency to outsmart themselves at times, so you've got to figure out what your team does well, which we've had a lot of time here in the last four months to figure out what our team does well, and we've just got to put them in those positions to be successful."

- Dwayne Allen is clearly a focus of this game. He is a key weapon that needs to get going for Clemson, and one of the primary concerns for West Virginia's defense. Dabo Swinney, ever the salesman for his program, gave his glowing explanation of why Allen is the best tight end in the country.

"Well, Dwayne is 6'4", about 255. He runs like a wide out. He blocks like a tackle and has really improved in other parts of his game as far as running with the ball after the catch, his flexibility, and he's got great ball skills, and he's got a high football IQ. So you put those things together, you're going to get a very, very good football player. He's tough and aggressive, likes to play. The moment is never too big for him. And he practices hard, studies and prepares."

- There was plenty of discussion on both sides about the opportunity to showcase and promote their program around South Florida this week. Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey, and Ivan McCartney all hail from nearby Mirmar, and Swinney mentioned a Monday night visit from the family of wide receiver Jacoby Ford, now with the Oakland Raiders. With the recruiting potential in the area - not to mention the competition to land those recruits - the opportunity to play in South Florida as the only bowl game of the night is one that any program would hope to seize.

- Both teams spent Monday night attending the Miami Heat's game against the Atlanta Hawks in American Airlines Arena. The experience of watching LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and the rest of the defending Eastern Conference Champs in person was a huge deal to the players.

Also? A huge deal to Dabo Swinney. When asked about the most fun part of the week, Clemson's head coach quickly and enthusiastically mentioned Monday night's activity.

"Lebron James, man! Even thought I didn't get to meet him, I love basketball. That was pretty neat to get to go down to the Heat game. What a great arena that is. I really enjoyed that."

For all the latest on Clemson and West Virginia up until kickoff, check out the Orange Bowl Pregame

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: January 3, 2012 11:40 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 12:50 pm
 

Orange Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the matchup that could decide the Orange Bowl

Najee Goode, LB, West Virginia vs. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

West Virginia's first team All-Big East linebacker is one of the most important pieces of the defense, and will be counted on step up in his last game as a Mountaineer. The redshirt senior is tied with offensive lineman Don Barclay and defensive end Julian Miller as the most experienced players on the team, with all three appearing in 51 career games for West Virginia. Goode has done everything the Mountaineers needed this season - from starting games at all three linebacker positions to recording seven tackles and forcing the game-saving fumble against USF in the regular season finale.

Now Goode needs to deliver one last memorable performance in order to contain the many weapons in Clemson's offense. Arguably his toughest challenge will be keeping an eye on tight end Dwayne Allen. In head coach Dabo Swinney's own words: Allen runs like a wide out, blocks like a tackle, and has improved his flexibility and football IQ. With dangerous deep threats like Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins on the outside, the duties of containing Allen will often fall on the linebackers.

Clemson's goal will be to exploit holes in the West Virginia coverage the way Syracuse did with Nick Provo in their 49-23 upset victory earlier this season. The Mountaineers struggled to keep Provo marked, particularly in the red zone, and eventually gave up six catches for 61 yards and three touchdowns. Dwayne Allen is arguably an enhanced version of Provo, and Goode must help the linebackers keep the 6-foot-4 Mackey Award winner from pulling down passes in the end zone if they hope to leave South Beach with their third BCS bowl win since 2005.

For all the latest on Clemson and West Virginia up until kickoff, check out the Orange Bowl Pregame

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:49 am
 

Keys to the Game: Orange Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

CLEMSON WILL WIN IF: They maintain a balanced offensive attack. Before the ACC Championship Game, CBSSports.com's Travis Sawchik suggested that Clemson had strayed from a run/pass balance late in the regular season. He told me in the moments leading up to kickoff that if they brought that balance back against the Hokies, Clemson would win. The Tigers threw the ball 30 times and ran 45 times, led by Andre Ellington's 125 yard performance, and ran away in the second half of a 38-10 win. So heading into another primetime battle with a potent opponent, I'll piggy back Travis' key. Ellington will play a huge role in keeping West Virginia's defense honest. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 scheme has given quarterbacks as talented as Sam Bradford trouble in bowl games, and the best way to open up the passing attack is make them fear the run. With Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, and Dwayne Allen all healthy there should be opportunities for mismatches with the coverage. But you lessen the chances of getting those matchups if the opposition doesn't respect your ground game.

WEST VIRGINIA WILL WIN IF: The offensive line can protect Geno Smith from the Clemson pass rush. With leading rusher Dustin Garrison sidelined earlier this week with a knee injury, the Mountaineers will rely on the offensive line and backup running back Shawne Alston to keep Clemson's pass rush at bay. In the ACC Championship Game, the Tigers held All-ACC running back David Wilson to a season-low 32 yards on 11 carries. Once the Tigers had neutralized Wilson and forced the Hokies to become one-dimensional, defensive end Andre Branch explained it was time to "pin our ears back" and get after Logan Thomas. Branch, Brandon Thompson, and the rest of the Tigers' pass rush terrorized Thomas throughout the second half. The onus will be on the Mountaineers offensive line to give Smith enough time to check through his progressions and find a receiver in space. With Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, and Ivan McCartney on the outside Smith should be able to find an open man against a secondary that has given up at least seven combined touchdowns and at least 200 yards in their last three contests.

X-FACTOR: Dwayne Allen. Arguably West Virginia's worst loss this season came at the hands of Syracuse in a 49-23 blowout loss in the Carrier Dome. The Mountaineers defense was burned by all-conference tight end Nick Provo, who had a team-high six catches for 61 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Jeff Casteel's unit will see a similar threat to Provo in Clemson's all-conference tight end Dwayne Allen. At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, the Mackey Award winner has used the time off to recover from a nagging toe injury that limited him late in the regular season. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris moves Allen around the formation, and he is one player the Mountaineers cannot lose track of anytime he is an eligible receiver.

For all the latest on Clemson and West Virginia up until kickoff, check out the Orange Bowl Pregame

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:55 pm
 

West Virginia loses top rusher Garrison for bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As West Virginia gears up for its first Orange Bowl in program history on January 4 against Clemson, it will have to do so without its leading rusher. Freshman tailback Dustin Garrison injured the ACL and MCL in his left knee on Friday, according to the WVU athletic department. The torn ligaments will require surgery and six months of rehabilitation.

Garrison tallied 742 yards and six touchdowns on the season, and the next-highest rusher for the Mountaineers is junior tailback Shawne Alston, who has 77 rushes for 339 yards and two scores on the year. Freshman running backs Vernard Roberts and Andrew Buie have also seen limited action for the Mountaineers, but their carries have largely dried up as the season has gone on.

Moreover, West Virginia's strength lies mainly in its passing game, and the Mountaineers' ACC-leading aerial assault should be at full strength for the game. QB Geno Smith has led West Virginia to 35 points a game and over 340 passing yards per game, so as long as that personnel remains in place, the loss of Garrison shouldn't be too devastating for the Mountaineers. But still, this is the loss of a leading rusher we're talking about, so unplanned adjustments will have to be made over the next few days.

For more Orange Bowl updates, check out CBSSports.com's Orange Bowl Pregame.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter.
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Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:15 pm
 

TCU could replace A&M on Thanksgiving

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Big 12 is yet to release its schedule for the 2012 season in part thanks to the uncertainty of whether or not West Virginia will be a member of the conference or forced to stay in the Big East. Though that doesn't mean that some games aren't becoming a bit clearer, and one thing many Big 12 fans have been wondering, Texas in particular, is who will replace Texas A&M as Texas' Thanksgiving opponent.

Well, according to Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, it looks like it will be conference newcomer TCU.

"That is the one that I've heard," Dodds told the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton. "It looks like we're going to have a Thanksgiving day or night game in Austin." 

Though Dodds did also caution that the schedule is still tentative, so nothing is set in stone just yet. Which is a sentiment TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte echoed to CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer.

"It's just in a review stage, we have to make sure West Virginia is in the hopper first," said Del Conte. "Texas put on a proposal that I thought was interesting - to rotate their games there. But that would mean they'd always end on the road.

"I think, for our conference, what is the best game to showcase the Big 12 That's what everyone wants. In my selfish case, what's the best game to showcase TCU? If it's a rotation of games there, does that really help the conference or is it better to go home-and-home? That game has been a historical one between Texas and A&M and from a television standpoint, we have to put in the right components to make it a great game. I do feel that TCU ought to be the right ones to fill that one in."

As for when we'll know for sure and when the Big 12 schedule will be released, nobody is all that sure right now. Though Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda also told Carlton that "it's getting closer and closer." Of course, nobody knows how close "closer" is, and with West Virginia still fighting with the Big East, it could still be a while.
Posted on: December 27, 2011 2:43 pm
 

DeAndre Hopkins questionable after auto accident

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson's explosive offense may be lacking one very important tool when they face West Virginia in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. DeAndre Hopkins, the Tigers' second-leading receiver, was injured in an auto accident Tuesday morning and did not join the team as they departed for Miami to begin preparations for the bowl game.

Hopkins was driving from his home to Memorial Stadium to join the team when the accident took place, the sophomore has been diagnosed with a mild concussion and officially listed as questionable for the season-finale against Mountaineers.

“First of all, we are relieved that DeAndre is going to be all right,” Head coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement.  “He is lucky. We are told he does not have any serious injuries and we hope to have him join us soon. Obviously, DeAndre is one of the main parts of our offense and this would be a big loss if he is not able to play. 

“But, it is too soon to speculate one way or another on his status for the game eight days from now.”

"Nuke" Hopkins has recorded 70 receptions for 854 yards in 2011, the fifth most in the ACC but still second on his own team. But that's the way it goes when you line up opposite ACC Freshman of the Year Sammy Watkins.

As one of the "senior" - Hopkins is a sophomore - members of the Tigers' receiving corps, Nuke was Tajh Boyd's go-to for key 3rd down plays or whenever Watkins was slowed by injury. With eight days to recover from what sounds like minor shakeups, I'd still expect Hopkins to be out on the field in Sun Life Stadium next week.

Get all the latest on Clemson and West Virginia up until kickoff at the Orange Bowl Pregame

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 11:55 am
 

West Virginia without starting DB for Orange Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

West Virginia faces arguably one of their toughest defensive assignments of the season with the high-powered Clemson Tigers awaiting them in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. Locking down wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and ACC Freshman of the Year Sammy Watkins will be much more difficult for Jeff Casteel's unit without junior safety Terence Garvin.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen said Wednesday that Garvin, the Mountaineers third-leading tackler in 2011, underwent season-ending knee surgery to repair an injury he suffered on Dec. 1 in the 30-27 win at South Florida. Garvin suffered damaged cartilage in his knee, and is expected to miss spring practice as well while undergoing the six-month rehabilitation process.

The responsibility of replacing Garvin - who recorded 72 tackles, 3.5 sacks, an interception and an additional pick-six in 11 games of action - will likely redshirt freshman Wes Tonkery, along with Shaw Petteway and Matt Moro. Holgorsen has not made any decisions at this time, and states the starting position is "up for grabs."

For all the latest updates on West Virginia and Clemson until kickoff, check out our Orange Bowl Pregame

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter.
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Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 10:56 am
 

PODCAST: Wrapping up the ACC and Big East

Posted by Chip Patterson

It must be the holiday season, because Adam Aizer and I are in the giving sprit and delivering two conference wrap-up podcasts for the price of one. In this edition of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast, Adam and I put a bow on the regular season in the ACC and the Big East and break down the best and worst of both conferences.

Pleasant surprises, biggest disappointments, conference awards and the best games of the season. What worked well for Mike London in his second year at Virginia? What didn't work well for Todd Graham at Pittsburgh and Randy Edsall at Maryland? We run down each team in the ACC and Big East and tell you what worked and what didn't in 2011.


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Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
 
 
 
 
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