WVU Sports with Mike Casazza

Get me some Derrek Pitts stock

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He is the state’s top-rated prep prospect in the 2017 class, but Derrek Pitts also staged a commitment announcement at a popular Charleston restaurant Wednesday and picked Penn State

But the rising senior made no apologies to WVU fans, some of whom were at the restaurant on Wednesday.

“I love West Virginia,” Pitts said. “But as of right now, I’m doing what’s best for me and my family. If some people can’t understand that, then they don’t want the best for me. That’s what me and my family understood at the end of this process.

“I do what’s best for me and my family and if you don’t understand that, you didn’t like me from the beginning. If you don’t understand that, you will never understand me.”

Stones. I like his future.

But do we need to talk about this? I think we need to talk about this.

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Together again

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Barring some 11th hour hiccup — like West Virginia being made responsible for too many tickets … and I think it’d take a bigger hiccup than that — this will happen. Hot take: Who’s doing a better job with non-conference scheduling than the Mountaineers? Are they the best? Probably not, but we’re still talking about a serious stretch of non-conference games. Hard to find someone taking a tougher path, which is somewhat ironic…

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New for Tuesday

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First, a change: No more Tuesday Taboo. It had a good run, but it’s the odd thing out this season. Save your tomatoes. There might be other additions and subtractions. I’ll explain later.

Second, a reminder: Play Preseason Bingo! I sent out the first batch of cards last night. I’ll do so again tonight.

Third, a reset: This is it for me this week, unless circumstances warrant otherwise. I did send two stories in last week to be used in my absence this week, but it appears they’ve already made it to print:

But, hey, it’s Tuesday. And what does that mean?

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Let the game begin!

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As promised Friday, something new and unusual today as we more or less begin our 2016 football season right here and right now. Welcome to Preseason Bingo!

We’ll get to the rules in a moment, but trust me when I say it’s as easy as it sounds. It’s probably going to be just as fun. But why are we doing it? Why do we do any of the things we do here?

There’s no answer to that question, and that means there’s no wrong answer. Why do we do TFGD? The Good and the Bad? Chats? F Doubles? I don’t know. But it feels right. And this idea feels right.

I’m not naive or conceited enough to think I’m the only one who can cover West Virginia or give you information that you need to know about the Mountaineers and their preseason camp. Here’s a way to encourage you to search for, discover and enjoy more during camp, which begins Aug. 2.

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Our loss, their gain

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So, that was two weeks ago today, and you know what that means. Today is Chuck’s last day at the Gazette-Mail, a place that’s meant a lot to him for a long time, a place that gave a stage to one of the best storytellers I know, a place he’s run with clarity and conviction for, if you’re asking me, more than just these past 11 months.

Cheers to Chuck, the four-time sportswriter of the year for work like this, his last piece at our shop.

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Friday Feedback

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EPSON MFP image

 

Welcome to the Friday Feedback, which needs a hand. The above is a peek at an idea I have and something I started working on during my flight to Dallas Sunday. It’s a list of 54 things that will, should, could and might not happen when West Virginia starts preseason practice Aug. 2. Events. Stories. Phrasing. Quotes. Etc.

It’s almost exhaustive. But is it comprehensive?

So I need your thoughts and additions. What’s missing? We won’t be here too long today (Ed. note: lie.), what with this being an unusual week, so I ask you to chip in as can. I promise I’m going somewhere with it, and I’ll let you know on Monday. Then we’ll reveal something else Tuesday, something new to our in-season rotation this year. After that, I’m gone for a few days to end the week.

And then, believe it or not, we’re in the season. Big story in the July 31 newspaper. West Virginia’s players report Aug. 1. Camp begins the next day. How about that?

Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, watch your step.

Clarence Oveur said:

Don’t bother trying to stoke those flames, Matt Campbell.

There’s no rivalry between WVU and ISU.

Wrong. Wrong.

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Long overdue change arrives

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I realized this today when I started to research and write this post, but we’ve been hemming and hawing for seven years about the way West Virginia does and, more to the point, does not honor its athletic past. The athletic department tried to shut our traps today.

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Video

Coming from the Mountaineers player deemed most likely to be good at everything he does, this is high praise for Ka’Raun White. Later Tuesday, coach Dana Holgorsen said White was WVU’s best receiver in spring football and that he’s physically similar to his bigger older brother, Kevin.

And if you we were wondering about their little younger brother, Kyzir, and why he was absent from the depth chart the school unveiled Sunday, don’t worry.

“We really didn’t work with him in June,” Holgorsen said, noting that Kyzir came to WVU with a minor injury. “It’s nothing serious, and he’s 100-percent cleared right now, but he came in and had a tweaked leg. We’re limited [by NCAA rules] with what we can do with him anyway, but we really couldn’t do anything with him. But he’ll have a shot to be the spur.”

Junior Marvin Gross is the starter on the depth chart and is backed up by redshirt freshman Deamonte Lindsay.

I think it’s fair to say some of you — fine, some of us — have in the past suffered from conference expansion fatigue. And it was transcendent. For a time, it directly affected West Virginia, and then later in involved the Mountaineers, but has it ever stopped? It hasn’t.

What expansion did in its past was give birth to a new subsection of sports writing, but look at what it did for social media. It was a huge accelerator for the evolution of Twitter. But, to me, the reason behind all of that was how much of expansion was done in secrecy. And you know how people are. They want to know things they aren’t supposed to know. The surreptitious nature of expansion drove people to great lengths to discover (and report) and learn more about the topic.

And so it is that you might sigh and/or roll your eyes when you come to realize expansion is back. It is. It won’t happen quickly this time, but it won’t happen the way you’re used to, either.

That’s going to be great. Allow me to present Exhibit A from Tuesday, not even an hour after the Big 12 concluded a conference call that fast-tracked expansion.

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Turn out the lights, the party’s over

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Maybe I should feel bad today about that video title from 10 months ago? On Tuesday, we learned that this hit was and should have been ruled that day as targeting.

It wasn’t, and the league’s coordinator of officials, Walt Anderson, regrets that.

“It should have been called on the field,” Anderson said. “We missed this, and this would be one that this year we would want the instant replay official to stop.”

Some of you disagree. I know that. So on the day this play was used to explain why replay officials now have the authority to stop play so they can determine if a play should be called targeting, Anderson and I decided to spar about this hit.

To be sure, that does not sit well with WVU’s following, the most vocal still insist Joseph did it right and was not in the wrong. But Anderson said there’s no arguing it was targeting. The officials tell coaches and coaches now tell players that there are four “low-risk indicators” that can be taught, learned and remembered to avoid targeting:

Keep your head up. Wrap up. Move your head to the side. Lower your strike zone.

“He pretty much had all the negative indicators on that,” Anderson said.