WVU Gameday Blog

Friday Feedback

Welcome to the Friday Feedback, which has a lot of candles to blow out today.

I don’t want to bore you with the sentiment and the details, but that’s a pretty sweet deal right there. Tip one for your homies if you get a chance tonight.

Newspaper people can be weird about nostalgia and benchmark occasions, but in our trade, longevity is not a guarantee and you can do any one of a number of things to lose your spot or any one of a number of things can happen to take that spot away from you. And didn’t you see that this week, what with a tweet that has people all sorts of fired up and a decision up in Newark that affected a lot of people.

Tom Luicci was awesome at the Star-Ledger. You probably got to know him through his columns about Rutgers and the Big East and you’ve probably heard him on the radio around here. Maybe you even knew his daughter attended WVU. He’s no more, though he’s handling it all with grace and humor you would expect.

True story: I probably only talked to Tom a handful or two of times, but one of those times was a 15- or 20-minute conversation over the phone before the WVU v. Rutgers game in 2009 and, no lie, I learned about all I ever needed to know about the politics of bowl games.

Then there’s Brendan Prunty, nattily clad and just as sharp with his craft. Golf, baseball, college sports, breaking news, whatever. He was just fun to talk to before games at Madison Square Garden or after games in Piscataway. And then you read what he wrote because you had to. He, too, is gone and if you’re looking for a job in newspapers or with a web site, you better hope your resume was in someone’s hands already. He’s getting a job really soon … if he wants one.

Those are two terribly nice guys who were really good at their jobs, so, yeah, don’t mind me for feeling pretty good about our birthday Sunday. Bad things can happen out of the blue, but good things can happen, too, and I’d like to think we’re in the midst of that now at the Daily Mail.

Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, keep your guard up, please.

Sammy said:

Patterson’s approach appeared to be working wonders early in the year but it’s hard not to watch the Baylor game and think that maybe WVU should be lining up faster. (Among many other issues that day.)

That’s the Extinction Level Event. Coaches reference that game all the time when they talk about what went wrong and when it started last season, and those conversations include some of the pre-snap problems. This is all interesting, of course, until you remember it was freaking Baylor and freaking Baylor made a lot of teams this side of Orlando look Benny Hillish. So you wonder, and understandably, if the explanation is merely justification to make this change popular amid so many changes, if it’s valid or if it’s an overreaction.

Dave Wannstedt:

They just gotta run faster

You joke, but that’s true, and there’s something to be said about keeping things simple enough so that a player can line up and wait for the snap and then just play faster. 

The 25314 said:

Wait, I thought our problems were because of injuries? Or because we were too young? Or because we were adjusting to a new conference? But seriously, all I know is that if Shelly Poe were still SID under this clown Holgorsen, she would quit. It’s a disaster.

…not quite ready to go there yet.

tls62pa said:

Turnbull is delusional. The program is nowhere to be on an upswing. We haven’t had a SINGLE all American since 2007. Hardly any remotely close (2 or 3 round of 12 guys). That is absolutely pathetic for a program that should be a perennial top 25 program. And don’t give me the 11-7 season turnaround BS. Those wins were against programs such as Anderson (D2), the Midlands (who is that?), Gardner Webb, Davidson, etc. We won a division 2 tournament. The program was in shambles and Turnbull did nothing for years. Time for new blood, and Turnbull is salty for it.

BTW check out this article on wrestling spending vs NCAA point coorelation.http://www.dtenwrestling.com/2014/03/validating-tim-flynn-of-edinboro-as.html?m=1 Check out who is at the bottom….

That matters.

CM said:

Can someone name a single program other than Womens basketball that has gotten better since Luck has come aboard. Ollie is woefully in over his head. He should retire so he can watch his talented son play in Indy.

And his coaching changes are the laughingstock of the NCAA.

To pull such a low class stunt and fire Craig the way he did shows his true character. I only hope Craig hires good Attorneys and goes after Luck with a vengeance.

BTW, if Craig lit into Ollie after he thumped Craig’s chest, even at 61, he would have made him his biatch in the bliunk of an eye.

First, welcome to the party. Glad you came and hope you stick around … because you’re probably not going to like what follows. No, I can’t name one sport that’s gotten better. I can name many. Baseball. Volleyball. Rifle. Gymnastics. Swimming and diving. Probably women’s soccer, too. Men’s golf wasn’t close to existing before Oliver. And baseball, volleyball and gymnastics have new coaches. And Luck was nearly the A.D. at Texas. So yours is not a very good take. I get that people can be displeased and express their displeasure, but when you sound off, it helps to support it. Believe it or not, like it or not people get fired in far worse manners and coaches leave schools in more tactless ways. If you think it’s a “low class stunt” to fire a coach Luck didn’t believe in any longer, good luck coming to grips with the rest of the business of college athletics. A lawsuit won’t go anywhere, which, I suspect, is why this is so public now.

Down South said:

Oh, wait. We already did the Hertzel jokes in another post. Darn it.

Before anybody buys into Turnbull’s self-serving claims about the direction of the team, consider these two points. Last season, our only dual meet victory was over Division III Johns Hopkins. We were blown out by every decent team we faced.

This year, there were two freshmen wrestlers from the State of West Virginia, redshirt freshman, Dylan Cottrell (Roane County) of Appalachian State, and Justin Arthur (Huntington) of Clarion. Cottrell was ranked for most of the season, but got a tough draw at the NCAA tournament and didn’t win a match. Justin Arthur, a true freshman, scored more team points by himself than the entire WVU wrestling team.

The team has been a dumpster fire since Zeke Jones left. My only complaint with Turnbull’s ouster is that it took so long. And that there wasn’t a picture of him wearing a ball cap that says “RELAX” to accompany Hertzel’s article.


tls62pa said:

All you have to do is keep the good WV wrestlers at home and pound the Pittsburgh and Cleveland area for all the talent you need. It’s obvious that there has been no development once they get on campus, tho. Heck, we had top 5 recruiting classes in 2004 and 2005 that only yielded 2 All American finishes (Brandon Rader took 6th twice). The schedule needs totally revamped, and energy has to be brought to the development of the wrestlers.

Yikes. Yeah, I’m speaking out of my league, I suppose, but that sounds like a pretty simple approach. But, yikes.

lowercase jeff said:

tls62pa – i love when followers of our lower exposure sports stop by. please dont be a stranger. there used to be a contributor hear who was hip to the track beat. that’s right. hip to the track beat. anyway, what happened to her?

Yeah, ccteam! We need an APB. Or an update, like with Dave. Dave!

tls62pa said:

Thanks Jeff.

I wrestled under Turnbull and it really turned me off to the way he ran the program. It makes it burn more to see how poorly we have been doing. I coach now, and still am a die-hard WVU wrestling fan. I just want to see the program succeed. We have everything it takes to be a top program, just need someone to lead it.

Out of all places, this is the best place.


Transition is never easy and it takes time. Investments have been made into the wrestling program. They have a fairly new and nice pavilion. This is an issue where facilities is not a problem. Eventually you have to move on. If any coach feels they “deserve” to stay, they probably aren’t a great coach. Kind of goes against the whole mantra of coaching, improving, and earning your spot. Mr. Turnbull did some good, but you want to see improvement. OL is doing what any other person in his position would do. This isn’t the government, this is a business looking for the most productivity and best results and the previous manager wasn’t getting it done. Oliver is looking at data and it’s not good. He could have cleaned house all at once, but he’s taken it gradually and deliberately.

I also don’t understand the Big XII arguments. Wrestling has nothing to do with the Big XII and it was most definitely not the reason we went to the Big XII. Wrestling has never been a member of a traditional conference. It’s not like the Big East had a wrestling conference. Because of the changes, huge improvements in almost every facet of the department will be underway soon, many are focusing on the fan experience.

Change is necessary and constant. Otherwise, you’re standing in the way and haven’t truly acknowledged how life functions. I now view Mickey as the “dang kids, get off my lawn” portion of the fan base.

I’m not going to go into any depth about Mickey. I don’t like it when reporters cover and comment on reporters. I really don’t like it when fringe reporters cover and comment as though they’re not a part of the population they’re writing about, but otherwise seek to be a part of that population. This is not the place for that, and I’m not suggesting you were going there. Plus, the rest of what you say is really good. And it’s something that’s been in motion since Luck arrived. I struggle to believe someone so intimately involved could be so blind to it, but that may be the case here. And here’s something I think a lot of us are guilty of and need to rid ourselves of: It’s wrestling, it’s not a big deal here, so who cares? Luck doesn’t accept that. He foresees big deals all over campus, and that’s his job.

To follow upon Down Souths Comment said:

Just to follow up on Dylan Cottrell and Justin Arthur going elsewhere to wrestle and both qualifying for the NCAA tournament….. To my knowledge, CT did not recruit either one. Not a letter. Not a come up and walk on….nothing. One of which really had an interest in WVU.

This is long overdue. A near 500 record would not be accepted in any other sport…and I get wrestling is different…but why should it fly to have a near 500 record in dual meets and be accepted? Wrestling is unique in that you create individual champions with the possibility of a team championship. WVU has done neither since Greg Jones (2005). The high school wrestling community in WV doesn’t produce a huge amount of D1 potential wrestlers….but the ones that are produced are never good enough for WVU, but are good enough for Purdue, Appy State, Virginia Tech, Clarion, Cornell, Citadel…..list goes on and on. If you think the coaches don’t see this…you’re nuts. Probably no one more excited than the high school coaches in WV.

I feel bad putting all these comments in here in the absence of a contribution from the other side, but that’s how it happened this week. And maybe that means something.

HendersonvilleMountaineer said:

Two things that Oliver Luck requires of his olympic sport teams:

Actively Market yourselves and sport (ex: Jill Kramer and the volleyball team practicing at the towers beach court today)

Play a tough non-conference schedule (Men’s Soccer team playing all of final four this past fall) Turnbull did neither and when he did set up a top non conference match (Penn State) he go smoked. He doesn’t recruit very well and he develops even poorly.

Also its highly unacceptable for a coach to have to forfeit a weight EVER in D-1 wrestling, that should never happen at this level.

Look at his scores from oklahoma st. he barely scored a win in a MATCH not the DUEL… one match IN TWO YEARS

OK, we’re tapping out now. 

Bobby Heenan said:

I thought Alford was pretty good getting off the line out of press coverage. He has a very quick first step and could beat defenders inside consistently toward the end of the year. It was pretty surprising to me (and our coaches as well I bet) that our back up inside WR at the beginning of the B12 conference schedule would end up as far and away our best outside WR by the end of the year.

It happens, especially when there are so many small fires to extinguish. That’s why you coach. But he’s not as talented and wasn’t as renowned as Tavon. Tavon’s talents were apparent, and I’m still surprised Lonnie Galloway and Jeff Mullen had him outside.

I love you, Doug! said:

And probably just as surprising that the starting IR (Jordan Thompson) would disappear again until he emerged, Superman-like from a phone booth, for that one catch in the Oklahoma State game, only to slip back into his Clark Kent disguise right away.

Is that a surprise? Or are you commenting on his come and go ways? I feel like Thompson is an ordinary player who can trend to above average for stretches and in spots. He’s a perfectly acceptable backup. And that’s where and why WVU is better this year, I think. The offense is better off with guys like Thompson and K.J. Myers and Devonte Mathis battling to be backups and not rotating as starters.

Sammy said:

1) Happy at prospect of a full season (plus offseason) for Alford. Honestly some of the plays he made in the Kansas game were truly impressive, and I don’t know why he didn’t get the ball more that game. But this is also the downside of JUCOs — he and Kevin White both seem like they are just about ready to get close to their potential — and it took all of last season plus an offseason to get closer — but both will be gone after this year.

2) What kind of numbers would this exact same offense put up — same line, backfield, receivers, Dana and Shannon calling plays — if we had a different QB, say, Geno, or even if we had Jarrett Brown? It feels like a lot of the pieces are in place to at least be decent if not somewhat potent on offense, but the quarterback situation seems bleak.

I really feel like Trickett is your Jarrett Brown. Lowest risk. Not necessarily the highest reward, but the lowest risk. Mentally, he has no reason not to be exactly where he needs to be, which pulls Paul Millard’s card. Physically? That’s the concern. He’s losing time to bulk up and add muscles mass in the weight room. He’ll be fine in time to do some stuff, and maybe he’ll have time to do enough stuff, but then he’s got to get used to playing with that, never mind getting used to playing again.

glibglub said:

If I’m Dana, I’m wearing a red clown nose to my next presser. Maybe I even stand at the podium and tweet Brian Messerly, just to see if he’s still around.

Forget it, let’s get into it. What if Dana did? What if he had the rainbow wig tomorrow at Laidley Field? I don’t see it, but Dana’s just unpredictable enough that he might say or do something to make light of the situation. I’m all for it. I’m the guy who thinks he should wear the Flying WV cheek sticker for games and be ensconsed in gold and blue velvet all season, you know, if it were socially acceptable. What a way to win fans from the lukewarm side.

SkeikYbuti said:

Which makes it really easy to portray Hertzel’s giving voice to Turnbull and Karlin as just another example of the old guard attempting to undermine Luck and Holgorsen at every opportunity, probably for ruffled feathers emanating from some imagined slight. With that type of thinking all too prevalent in the State, it’s no wonder we’re 48/49 in so many categories.

I understand the point, and it’s hard to avoid that now, but I think the Turnbull story you all saw in the newspaper is more news than agenda by Hertz. What it was was Turnbull coordinating the telling of his story — just Hertz and the Dominion Post — and Hertz gave Luck a chance to counter and comment on the accusations. That’s how you play that one, I think.

MontanaEer said:

Notice the wording: Hertz more so apologizes for accidentally sending out the tweet than for the ad hominem attack on HCDH.

I’m far from neutral in this, but I think we’re going a bit too far if we’re dissecting the content of an apology tweet. Hertz wasn’t trying to be clever, especially in the wake of the initial act.

SheikYbuti said:

“I don’t want to pour water on anyone or anything — that seems to be frowned upon all of a sudden”

I wouldn’t worry, Mike. At a bare minimum, you need an AARP card before you can be considered one of the “old guard.”

…not quite what I meant, but than’s for the exclusion.

netbros said:

Mike, when you pour water on someone, you always do it so smooth they don’t even know they’re wet.

Clever, but I promise you that’s not true. Not lately.

Joe Elliott said:

Change that water to sugar, Mike, and you can pour away.

Take a bottle, shake it up. Break the bubble, break it up.

tls62pa said:

Do we not want to pour water too quickly because of the Aaron Murray situation? It all smells like similar expectations.

Yes and no, but the best way to stop talking about the past is to point to the future. I don’t know what’ll happen in the future, but there’s a time to go into that. I do know what happened this past season, and that seems most relevant now. We’ve been shown the bill of goods already.

smeer said:

Mike context is everything. You have always come across as collegial, balanced, a thinker, not prone to knee-jerk and measured in your words – in other words – professional. I gather from your book that you will always appreciate what Bob Hertzel has done for your career. But that was a huge faux pas on the tweet that cannot be overcome with an apology – he let the entire mountaineer nation know how he feels about HCDH – and I am not sure anything can change that.

Up until this point, while I felt Mr Hertzel was prone to fall back on too oft-repeated writing patterns, I considered him to be fair and balanced for the most part – even if “old guard.” He loves WVU. So did coach Stew.

Well, thanks. The words are appreciated. But let’s talk context. Hertz was talking to an SID. To me, the context for calling Dana a clown was the way Dana structures access. That, to me, is less offensive than likening Dana to a clown because of various behaviors and coaching decisions. But maybe that’s just me.

The 25314 said:

I don’t see how hertzel’s reputation is damaged in the least if he thinks holgorsen is a clown. Casazza accidentally tweeted that tricket and Howard suck. I tend to agree with both of them.

I’ll tell you a secret if you promise to keep it here, OK? It explains why I never apologized and why I’m not in any sort of trouble with people who might hold that against me. Here you go. Sent that DM seven minutes before the tweet in question went public.

glibglub said:

Is it safe to Google “autophobic” at work?

Fear of isolation.

I love you, Doug! said:

I always thought the WVU secondary is agoraphobic: fear of open spaces.

Ah, not bad.

Bobby Heenan said:

Good article, Mike.

I will be interested to see if Bell makes it back on the roster. I think his addition either for CB depth or for him to get a look back at FS could be helpful. Obviously, he’s got discipline issues, so we may never see him…but if got it together and eventually won Dana’s approval then his abilities would be helpful.

I think overall the talent and depth is improving; free safety could be interesting for us this year, but hopefully improved CB play and more rush/qb pressure minimizes lack of experience on the back end.

That’s going to be a huge, huge spot, which is why Ricky Rumph is such a key character now. Clearly with his cornerback experience he has some coverage talent, but there’s something else about him that the coaches like at safety. I can see them using Cover One with just the FS deep, maybe with a robber MLB, or Cover Two with Joseph pointed at the backfield. That’s going to be fun to follow.

JP said:

I think it’s great that Marsha fans think Mike D’antoni is going to be their next coach. From the Lakers to the Terd. Seriously? You guys in Huntington, always good for comic relief. #littleDetroit

Do they think that or hope that? There’s a difference, right? Near as I can tell, they’re prepared for the coach from a smaller school — the guy at N.C. Central is a strong candidate, I’ve heard, and would be a nice pick — who will come to Marshall and encounter the limitations there and see them instead as luxuries compared to where he was. And if turns out to be a scenario in which the coach is there for a few years and does well enough to step onto another stone, I don’t think Marshall loses. But discounting the D’Antoni possibility on grandeur alone is not wise. There are roots. There’s some level of interest.

SheikYbuti said:

I think that Mike D’Antoni could and would coach at Marshall, at least in theory, but it seems highly unlikely that MU could commit to the ridiculous upgrade of their basketball program necessary to attract a coach of that caliber. It’s not just about the head coach’s salary, either. It certainly doesn’t help matters that, less than ten years after leaving the MAC, the Herd, through realignment, essentially finds itself back in the MAC (and arguably worse, at least from a competition standpoint).

That’s the more compelling argument that may break it before it ever comes together. Marshall basketball just doesn’t have a lot going for it. D’Antoni could come to town, get a staff together that he likes, including his brother and maybe a young guy he wants to groom (Brett Nelson, A.W. Hamilton perhaps?) and have a nice run into the sunset. What Larry Brown is doing is relevant and D’Antoni would have more appeal because of L.A. and his style of play. 

Bobby Heenan said:

I hope if he’s playing well in the slot this spring we just put him in the slot full time. No splitting time or reps at RB and slot. No motioning to the slot on some packages. Just full time slot. Lots of reps.

I think it’s clear we’re weak in the slot, and I’ve lost faith in Thompson. Shorts is solid, but he’s not a game breaker.

To me, slot is very much a feel position that requires lots of reps. There is plenty of instinct and “feel” needed to find open spaces between LBs and safeties, there’s an art to blocking from the slot for outside screens, and just ask Mario Alford how much more difficult it can be to catch that quick slant from the slot (when it’s coming faster at a shorter distance) as compared to outside.

I think we have the RB depth to go ahead and move him to slot full time. That’s my stance on the issue for now. *pessimism mode on* – Get back to me after Dremius tries to bounce every run outside and Shell underperforms, but for now I say move Smallmood.

Interesting, for sure. I can’t see it happening because he might also be the best running back if this story arc continues. But they do value that slot position and they don’t have a the electric presence there they want. They don’t even have enough to use four receivers. I don’t know how it goes, but, again, it’s something that ought to be fun to follow, and I do wonder if Andrew Buie maybe turns into a slot because Dustin Garrison has been just very solid so far.

pknocker40 said:

Interesting news for Mike’s doppelganger:


No truth to the rumor I was approached first, by accident, to do the show.

SheikYbuti said:


Enjoy the weekend!