Odds makers

August 28, 2015 by Mike Casazza

These may or may not interest you, but the idea is you can make it interesting. Bovada unveiled some fun odds-based scenarios for the 2015 college football season. Not one involves a West Virginia player, which got me thinking. Let’s read this and figure out what marks we can set for the soon-to-debut 2015 Mountaineers.

It’s Friday. Have as much fun with this one as you want.

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WVU backs proposed ban on troubled transfers

August 28, 2015 by Mike Casazza

Out of the ugly ashes of this Baylor mess comes a needed change to the transaction trade in college sports. Following the SEC, the Big 12 is presenting a rule that will keep schools from accepting a transfer who was dismissed from a prior school because of “serious misconduct.”

“I thoroughly support the new rule,” said WVU president E. Gordon Gee.

“I was supportive,” said Lyons. “We still have to get the language down and get it through our faculty reps, but, conceptually, we all agreed we need some type of language similar to that of the SEC.”

On Tuesday, WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen was asked about the situation.

“Whatever is happening outside of here is not for me to talk about,” Holgorsen said. “But we’ve always done the same thing. We’ve done background checks on guys based on high school coaches, junior college coaches and former coaches. We put everything in our administration’s hands. If there is an issue, then we make a decision on what is best for the university collectively.”

“You have to look at it case by case,” Lyons said, “but in our climate I expect my staff to look closely. Coaches make us aware of issues and the administration makes the call. I’m confident we’ve had steps in place.”

Don’t change that channel

August 28, 2015 by Mike Casazza

No Friday Feedback today, but that’ll be the last time I say that for some time. That’ll drop, as scheduled, a week from today on the eve of the opener. It will also cap off the opening week here on the blog.

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Karl Joseph wins a Herbie

August 27, 2015 by Mike Casazza

I suppose we can question the validity or the credentials after we see the playoff picks, but ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit honored WVU’s oft-honored safety with one of his preseason awards today.

No use in rushing Rasul

August 27, 2015 by Mike Casazza

Rasul Douglas, seen above pursuing new West Virginia teammate Ka’Raun White in a junior college game last season, was cleared to practice Saturday. The green light came just in time to put on his helmet, jersey, shorts and cleats and practice for the first time with the Mountaineers that afternoon.

All Douglas (highlights) really did was run. So began the NCAA’s five-day acclimatization period.

But that was nevertheless important because he needed to prove he was in shape. Cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell, who put a lot of time into recruiting Douglas from Nassau Community College, in Garden City, N.Y., stayed in touch with Douglas as the player awaited approval. Mitchell made it clear Douglas had no excuse not to be in shape and that there wouldn’t be time for him to get caught up with his conditioning. He had to be ready.

So on the first day, Douglas ran. A lot. It was a gauntlet of sprints and challenges to show he was where he needed to be.

And the reviews, according to Mitchell, were pretty encouraging. I think he came here in pretty good shape physically, and he’s willing to put in the extra time right now.

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Timely!

August 27, 2015 by Mike Casazza

My column was on point this week. We discussed alternate viewing options as part of the expected pinch networks might feel in the next round of television contract negotiations with major conferences. Oklahoma is going to be on national television just about every time it plays a game but has one exception on its schedule this season … and it’s the damn opener! The Sooners Tuesday unveiled a way to show the game in an unconventional manner.

The game is being televised on a pay-per-view basis because it was not selected for over-the-air broadcast or cable television coverage. It will be available on a dedicated pay-per-view channel on participating Oklahoma program providers, and nationwide via participating satellite and Telco distributors. Pricing will vary by distributor.

That same day, Iowa State’s men’s basketball team announced it’ll have six non-conference games on it’s Tier 3 model.

It’s coming.

Busy Saturday?

August 26, 2015 by Mike Casazza

High school football starts this week, which is sort of useful as you wait another week for WVU football. But if it’s not enough and you just you need that Mountaineer Field fix — something like the final preseason game before the first one that counts — then you do have an option.

The stadium will play host to a top-shelf prep game Saturday: Cleveland’s St. Edwards against Baltimore’s Gilman. St. Edward is No. 3 in Cleveland.com’s preseason state ranking and No. 19 in USA Today’s national ranking. Gilman is No. 2 in Maryland this preseason and No. 3 in USA Today’s Northeast regional ranking.

High school football is mirroring college football and staging elite matchups to start the season, and the one reserved for Morgantown is among the best available this weekend. The Mountaineers can’t be involved in any of this — and I mean, can’t be in the stadium, can’t have their scoreboard operator working the game — but they do indeed benefit. Neither prep program is far from here and two pretty strong prep programs are paying WVU to come visit.

 

Whoa there, Steve Clarkson

August 26, 2015 by Mike Casazza

Steve Clarkson is one of those broom-wielding, promise-making quarterback whisperers who’s realized great fame and even fortune through the years. His reputation can go either way, depending on how you choose to view his motivations and his role in a kid’s life. Whatever that perspective, he’s achieved quite a bit through the years, and he’s been profiled on just about every stage imaginable. I mean, Morley Safer took notice.

Clarkson, of course, has long been connected to West Virginia’s mercurial freshman David Sills. Whatever their relationship and whatever it means, understand Clarkson has an eye for talent. Two eyes, in fact. And as you can see above, he’ll just go ahead and compare Sills to Johnny Manziel.

I bring this up today because Sills will in all likelihood redshirt this season, like Manziel did four years ago before winning the Heisman Trophy the following season. W.V. Crest is Skyler Howard’s backup, and it appears Chris Chugunov will travel with the team as well. Sills, meanwhile, has talked to teammates about what it’s like to redshirt. His high school teammate, receiver Daikiel Shorts, who led the team in receptions as a true freshman in 2013, told Sills it’s worth it for long-term benefit.

And since Sills is redshirting (for now, because let’s not forget Howard was supposed to redshirt last season), that means he’s on the scout team. And at this time of the year before this tricky first opponent, Sills is keying the scout team offense by mimicking the Georgia Southern quarterback in its unique option offense. He also happens to be darwing rave reviews from the coaches schooling him on what to do and how to do it.

This is all of the talk about Sills — faster then you’d think, a very good runner, best athlete at the position, no less capable of playing running back or receiver than was Crest — in action, and though it’s a small and cloudy window, it’s a look into the future versions of Dana Holgorsen’s multiple and evolving offense.

#Midvale

August 26, 2015 by Mike Casazza

Bob Huggins. Taking over.

Theory time

August 26, 2015 by Mike Casazza

Something hit me last night and it’s still spinning around in my head. We’re trying to figure out the receiver position at WVU and sort out the best five skill position players — and that, again, is a big part of WVU’s attack because of its aim to apply multiple tempos. You play faster without subbing.

Daikiel Shorts is, according to people on defense, the team’s best all-around receiver. He can and will play inside and outside because he knows and has handled both positions. He says, though, that he’s an inside receiver now. I asked him where he’d put his name if I handed him a blank depth chart and he said, “Inside.”

So here’s an idea, which is not to say it’s the idea: The wide receivers — two or three of them, at least — are all right and Shorts and Jordan Thompson will give the Mountaineers punch inside. The offense then branches out from there.

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