It’s about to jump off

dana with ball2

As long as it’s not yet July 31, I’m still on vacation as I recharge and reload for the upcoming season. We have our first practice Thursday and this thing won’t end for another five months. I expect a lot of fun here and there and everywhere in between.

I’ll leave you with this post as a way to get by until we get started. Surely things will happen in my absence, because we’re so close to the beginning and not because I’m away.

I also have a request for you.

Believe it or not, I have most of my camp coverage planned. I have the story ideas I want to pursue and the players and coaches I want to profile, and I even have some of the days set. The Tier 4 studio has been dusted and the camera charged.

But I know better and I built in wiggle room for things that will change my plans and stories that pop up and demand my attention. Which leads me to this: I don’t work or live in a vacuum. I’m here for a reason. Early on, tell me about something or someone you’ like to see covered here or in the newspaper … understanding those are different animals.

See you soon.


49 Responses to “It’s about to jump off”

  1. JPWVURFL says:

    I figure with the season getting ready to start up that we might be hearing more about the WVU/IMG vs. WVRC case. Should this garner any sort of interest? I can’t see it affecting this year’s coverage and I really wonder if there is anything to really worry about. Do you happen to know anything about the judge in the case and how fair he is?

    Also, any word on the stadium wrap? I thought they were going to try and get it done for this season, but there hasn’t been any real news about it.

    Have a great rest, Mike. You deserve it. Hope it recharges you.

  2. Down South says:

    Most likely story to develop during Mike’s vacation: Delaware prosecutor gets Smallwood to admit he ordered the code red. Story I most want to read: Tom Bradley’s journey. What a crazy few years that guy has had, watching something great you help build burn to the ground.

    Unrelated, but new WVU assistant wrestling coach, Nick Marable, won a spot on the US World team last night. Should have a good shot at winning a world championship in September.

  3. tls62pa says:

    Surprise to the blog, but I’d like to see more about Sammy the Bull Henson. While I am familiar with Sammy and his methods, Mountaineer Nation isn’t. You hear him talk about his system of training, and how it is successful. I think it would be a great idea to have him explain his system for everyone to understand. From the horse’s mouth. I think you would enjoy an interview with Sammy.

  4. tls62pa says:

    And to DS, Marable will have a great shot at a world title. He is so solid in terms of position, very strong, and very agile. Doubtful you will see him scoring in bunches, but he comes out with the W’s. Just by him knocked off probably the best pound for pound wrestler in the world, Jordan Burroughs, gives him that world credibility. It is great to have him on the staff, especially with his strong understanding of Sammy’s training system.

    With Sammy at the helm, you will start seeing a lot more of his Sunkist Wrestling Club’s athletes training in Morgantown, which creates a big draw for recruits.

  5. Mack says:

    I don’t mean this in a defamatory way, but I’d like to read a story about Ed Pastilong. Why didn’t they do any of the things they’re doing now in terms of money-making efforts… I’m sure there’s a rationale for the way the athletic department was then versus now. I think it’d be interesting.

  6. smeer says:

    If Trickett is willing to share, have him talk about his battle with (is it?) celiac disease. How it has impacted his strength, training, meal planning, football development/preparation. A feel good story of overcoming.

  7. Oklahoma Mountaineer says:

    I’d like to see a story on Buie and his return to the team — how he’s re-integrated to the team and how you see him fitting into the offensive plans, with or without Smallwood being eligible this season.

  8. Mr M says:

    I’d like to know who the Mountaineer basketball player is in the photo. I’ll work on trying to figure it out. And, knowing it’s not exactly what Mike is requesting, it might be interesting for bloggers to share a few memories … during this downtime. Maybe some categories:

    1. Favorite football memory
    2. Fav. Basketball mem.
    3. Fav. Jack Fleming memory —

    I’ll start it off — back in the Catlett days some team was just pouring it on, and we were down maybe 20 points with a LOT of time left on the clock when Jack quipped “They’re eating us alive, Woody.” For whatever reason, that has stuck with me … at least 25 years.

  9. Sammy says:

    – Trickett’s celiac disease

    – What the defense is going to look like — is Gibby running last year’s defense but simpler, are we going to finally stop giving the giant cushions (we started to last year before everyone got hurt), what role does Tom Bradley have?

    – How has Dana evolved as a head coach. Does he look for different things now in his assistants? (one word: RELAX)

    – Unfortunately, yes, I am interested in the backup QB battle

    – Given that everyone in the Big 12 now seems to be spread and some kind of 3-4, where does the conference go from here? Any big trends? I really liked that man coverage piece you did. Maybe there’s a follow on to that

    – Run game/offensive line: Both personnel (how will the tackles do, especially given how fragile Trickett is) but also the schemes. Last year we saw more power stuff, will we see more of that or any other wrinkles?

    – Maybe something about Joe DeForest being back coaching defense, how his role has changed over time. He came here very open about wanting to be a defensive coordinator so he could be a head coach, and that seems very far away now. (Though I will give him credit that one of his jobs was to bring in kickers and punters and I like how kickers and punters a lot more now than before he arrived.) I don’t know how you’d get the access or cooperation but DeForest is actually an interesting and maybe even somewhat tragic figure — though one thing that isn’t tragic is his bank account.

  10. glibglub says:

    The answer lies in the url of the photo…

  11. Mr M says:

    Thanks, gg; was thinking in the wrong direction!

  12. Down South says:

    I wonder how many sides a basketball has.

  13. Anxiouseer97 says:

    Topics I’m curious about:
    1. How does an Air Raid offense work without solid QB play?
    2. WVU had a lot of success under Rod when our offensive was unique. In the Big 12, our offense doesn’t seem unique. It is time for a change?
    3. How has Holgorsen evolved as a coach – has his offensive philosophy changed?

  14. Philip says:

    if you haven’t read it yet, anxious, a nice piece on richrod now that the spread is the norm: the innovators know there’s tweaking to be done.

    will be interesting to see how holgorsen evolves his offense in a league full of similar attacks. the addition of william crest makes me curious as to what the coach has up his sleeve. (especially as the rb and wr positions get stronger and deeper.)

  15. JC says:

    It’s obvious to everyone that the QB is a hot topic, but I’m more interested in the D Line and O Line… are won in the trenches.

    Also, the evolution of #Boomstache, including pictorials of the stache over it’s growth cycle…..

  16. Spatial Angel says:

    I don’t know what a url is, so I’m really guessing….HCDH.

  17. Mr M says:

    Spatial —

    I didn’t know either until glibglub mentioned it … just go onto the photo with the curser and this id of the source of the photo comes up in the rss bar at the top of your screen, showing Dana’s name among the info:

  18. Dann White says:

    Dana looks a bit uncomfortable, maybe he is trying to figure out how many sides a B-ball has.
    Get your rest Mike, the marathon is coming, you are going to need it. Story wise; whatever.
    What we have here that is unique (outside of slow loading background) is exceptional analysis of what is happening behind the scenes and in the schemes of WVU Sports. I am too old and too traveled to be entertained by picture of aging coeds getting drunk in the stands of MPS. I want nuts and bolts and mature opinions, that’s what we have here at “WVU Sports Blog with Mike Casazza” and believe me that URL is worth a lot more than $1,600,000.00.
    Thanks Mike see you on the flip-flop.

  19. smeer says:

    may I go off-topic and vent with you guys?

    (if not skip this!)

    well, I am getting a taste of the incompetence and rule-mongering of the NCAA as sampled by Sheldon Gibson, Elijah Macon, et al.

    We adopted our son, Laz, from Uganda at the age of 15. It was an ordeal which of itself required “discovery” – no birth records, barely school records. we had to have Laz get a bonescan to prove his age. . . .

    Fast-forward four plus years. His mother and I were delighted that Laz would continue to play the game he loves in college – soccer – on the Div 2 level.

    Well not so fast, Laz completed something in Uganda – S1-S4 – in that country it would lead to a certificate similar to a high school diploma, but note that Laz completed it by the age of 14. In Uganda there is no age requirements that define what grade you’re in – because it’s a pay system anyway. Some kids were much older than Laz – he was allmost always the youngest. When he came to America, we started him as a ninth grader to make sure that he didn’t miss basic courses and he would fulfill all requirements for graduation at his high school.

    But that’s not good enough for the NCAA. They are demanding his Ugandan transcripts – which we hope exist – since often they are sold on the black market so that the buyer can get a job above education level. We know his age – medically. We know his grades from this country. But . . . .

    So now Laz may be a “partial qualifier.” And who knows how all this will end. Think WVU has a good lawyer we can borrow (for free)?

    By the way, the kid, looks and acts his age – the medical test was on mark.

  20. Mr M says:

    Sounds like an interesting adventure awaits at the DMV, too, smeer.

  21. Spatial Angel says:

    Old pictures of coeds? That’s not such a bad idea; is it? Perhaps even a tale or two of the panty raids of yesteryear.

  22. Ron - from Morgantown says:

    How will the tailgate /parking be altered with all the construction around the stadium ?(I hope nobody made reservations at the Friends inn for any of the games ). Any new uniform changes ? I wonder about Alabama , regarding how secret this camp will be regarding any surprises for that game . Shell ? He has great talent – but also could be a problem – what is his attitude ? Bradley – never thought a former Penn State head coach would be on staff at Wvu – his hire is under reported . I can’t imagine he will be here long , maybe its just wishful thinking on my part .

  23. Foul Shot says:

    What record causes a coaching change?
    Do we have losing records again in football and hoops?
    Does Luck start feeling heat for the moneymakers struggling so?
    This is what I am interested in for 2014-15.

  24. avb31 says:

    I could go without hearing about Bradley’s story. We all know his story. I’ll be thrilled if we can go the whole season and not read or hear anything about Bradley and the awful things that went on at Penn St.

  25. Dann White says:

    I like oeds as much as the next guy, but I don’t mix that diversion with my love of WVU sports. To be honest, I was making reference to another well-traveled (not by me) blog that shall be identified only by the initials TMN. Before I wound up here, I spent about two days looking through their threads, they seemed to be more interested in the trappings of fandom than the athletic competition taking place.
    Don’t get me wrong, if that floats their boat, then go for it! Its perfectly fine by me – but not fine FOR me. I needed the type of discussion that takes place here in our blog, and sorry to say; nowhere else.
    It won’t be long now.

  26. Ron - from Morgantown says:

    Yes good post about Bradley , I hope he is 1 and done , really don’t like the hire , and if you give him a mic you give him an audience and he is all about himself and quite delusional about grandeur . What was I thinking ?

  27. I love you, Doug! says:

    Smeer, interesting story! And you’ve done a good thing. Hope he gets to play! (Reason No. 542 for burning down the NCAA.)


  28. Dann White says:


    My best wishes to Laz. The NCAA is a very weird organization, but one would hope that even they could be understanding of the path your son took to the college of his choice. I wish I could do more than wish him well, but that I do. Keep me posted on this my friend.

  29. smeer says:

    lol – the hash tag

  30. smeer says:

    thanks Dann – will do

  31. Mack says:

    I know another guy who came from Nigeria and had the exact same issues. He is currently playing division 1 basketball but they jerked him around for a bit. I kind of get it because the lack of documentation over there and the desire of coaches and teams to win over here. The problem lies in the NCAA taking too much time to make decisions on these guys. When one of the moneymakers has an issue, like Cam Newton, they make a ruling immediately. Remember when Auburn declared him ineligible and the NCAA stepped in the very next day?

  32. Dann White says:

    Right Mack,
    My guess is that someone received a FedX at home to be sure that was handled promptly. Hard to trace cash….

  33. smeer says:

    laz update – we have some people on the ground over there – fortunately my wife is in some adoption support groups. she made contact with Laz’s school master who will hand off his school records to a woman who will be flying back to the US on Monday – probably faster (and cheaper) than mailing. The NCAA at first was hesitant to receive these records hand delivered but relented – then comes the (at least) ten day bureaucratic review. there is hope – ever slight. they seem especially interested in if Laz repeated the 9th grade once he got over here – but not sure why

  34. I’m with Mack 100%.

    I want to discuss Pastilong’s tenure (the good and the bad), with particular emphasis on MSN and how revenue streams were (or weren’t) utilized.

    I came across a blurb on this YouTube video of ESPN’s Outside The Lines special on Rich Rodriguez’s departure. Watch the video ( and pause it at the 2:04 mark.

    It’s an email from RichRod’s agent to Mike Garrison’s Chief of Staff. Look at the sentence just below the highlighted portion. It reads “Rich and I are very concerned there is no confirmation the RFP for the network has been released yet.”

    Pause the video again at 2:14 and you can make out the following in the paragraph below the highlighted portion: “Rich would have to weigh heavily the progress made on the issues he raised this summer and of revenue stream initiatives, for example we agreed to delay discussion on the website until the bids were received for the network with the thoughts the winning bidder may include a T&C excluding a coach’s website. The 200-300K of the increased revenue from the network could be directed towards the assistant coach’s budget versus revenue from a website.”

    (And be sure to pause it again at 4:39. Tier 4 before we even knew it existed!)

    Was Pastilong considering RFPs to outsource MSN in order to produce more revenue? If so, why didn’t he go through with it? That email seems to suggest they were at least considering it and may have made assurances to Rodriguez that they would indeed go forward with it.

    These are questions that absolutely deserve answers. I would love to see an interview with Pastilong or with some individuals who were tied into the AD and football program during the Rodriguez years.

  35. Oklahoma Mountaineer says:

    I know this may seem like a RichRod, nostalgia love fest, but I’d like to see a story on Mike Barwis and how he contributed to the offensive line in the 2005-2007 hey day of WVU football.

    Watching American Muscle and seeing the type of guys there across the sports landscape says to me that he deserves a great deal of credit — not that Joseph is not good, but that Barwis must be exceptional……..inside scoop on this may well confirm/deny that opinion.

    Pat White improved about 20 percent on the speed of his ball in the week/2 weeks shown on the show…..and now has made it back on a professional football roster.

  36. JP says:

    Who is it that owns the eyesore of a trailer park across from the stadium? They must be holding out for a king’s ransom if WVU still hasn’t bought it and razed it for parking.

    Coliseum renovation and parking issues are always winners.

    Ask Ollie if Tom Bradley is a head coach in waiting. I’ll hang up and listen.

  37. I love you, Doug! says:

    Looks like Down South was right all along: Wendell walks after dropping dime on his homie:

    (10 percent of me wondered if the perp was threatening Smallwood into intimidating the witness; i.e., “My people on the outside will kill your moms if you don’t [intimidate the witness.]”)

  38. JP says:

    Man, I bet Wendell is breathing a sigh of relief right now. Hopefully he can move forward from here and do great things.

  39. anxiouseer97 says:

    Philip – thanks for the link to the SI article. It was interesting. Rod deserves credit for evolving at WVU (going from pass to run), but I think it was by accident more than by design. The 2003 game against Tech sort of showcased it, in a sense.

  40. Dann White says:

    Talk about a football jones! Mike goes on vacation, leaving little more than a note saying he’ll be back by fall camp, and he we are 5 days later still darting in and out on autopilot. I gotta’ say guys, I love this blog. Lucky as we are to have Mike’s services as our personal reporter, analyst and inside man, we just keep on truckin’ in his absence.
    I know I have brought this up recently, but I seem to be closing in on the 2014 Gridiron campaign with an ample supply of positive energy. Somehow it seems like the stars are lined up correctly and the depth chart is brimming witrh talent. I just can’t help but feel like we are going to redeem ourselves in the Big 12 and possibly surprise a certain SEC team with our game.
    We’ll know soon enough, but ’til then; we can’t seem to get enough!


  41. Dann White says:

    Well, at least I can’t…………………

  42. anxiouseer97 says:

    A positive thought for a glimmer of hope – Alabama is on a two game losing streak.

  43. Rugger says:

    I feel so fine I can’t control my brain.

    On the flip side, I wonder when Nick last lost 3 in a row.

  44. smeer says:

    the best news about playing the Tide in the first game is that they are breaking in a new QB and ours hasn’t been broken yet

  45. DaveK says:

    Mike’s gotta be proud of how his people can take care of themselves and his blog in his absence. Vingle posted that Shaquille Riddick graduates Aug 4. Bruce Irvin version 2, I hope!!

  46. lowercase jeff says:

    dann – amen. i see, for the first time in a while, a lot of good players. not sure if there are enough, but theyre there. i have a very good feeling about this season.

    that being said, i am in possession of two seemingly contradictory opinions. First, i believe we can alabama. Second, i believe towson can beat us.

  47. smeer says:

    freudian slip lcj?

    the word “beat” was omitted before Alabama

    (or did Microsoft auto-correct because, grammatically, “beat” cannot precede “Alabama” ?)

  48. JP says:

    Interesting article on why the Big XII may not expand any time in the near future. Blame Tier 3 rights and Texas!

  49. Mike Casazza says:


    Thanks. But don’t tell anyone I’m not integral here lest my superiors get the wrong idea! Also, that Riddick thing may be news to him, but it’s not to us.