WVU Sports with Mike Casazza

How Rasul Douglas let WVU stack the deck

Share This Article


Previously in The Good and the Bad of WVU v. Iowa State, we wondered about how the Mountaineers were using Rasul Douglas.

I’ve been following this for a while, and Douglas plays left and right. Not all the time. Not every game. But it’s true. The only pattern I can discern is that Adams is using Douglas as a constant and having Maurice Fleming and Antonio Crawford, who didn’t play Saturday, cover the side or the player Adams wants them covering. Each has a strength, or Adams has a preference for each, and Douglas is able to make sure the defense has the best matchup no matter the personnel. It’ll never make his portfolio for Big 12 defensive player of the year, but that speaks to his value.

Nailed it! Maybe he wasn’t (voted) the defensive player of the year, but he was “extremely valuable” to the defense that ranked No. 1 in Big 12 play in scoring defense, total defense and forced turnovers. Douglas played on either side solely to ensure that the other side had the matchup that suited the defense best.

“It was more a matter of who was running with him,” Adams said.

Running with him, not against him. That’s an important designation, especially in the Big 12, which counts a number of star receivers on its roster of explosive passing offenses. Adams could have assigned Douglas to the opponent’s top outside receiver, but Adams would have compromised his defense.

He didn’t game plan with Douglas’ receiver in mind. He was thinking of Douglas’ teammate on the other side of the field.

“Rasul is the kind of guy you can just put somewhere, because he’s going to be able to hold up no matter where you put him,” Adams said. “For me, it was about the other guy. If you take away one side of the field and the other side is not as strong, they’re just going to go to the other side. What good is that? So how do we stack the deck so we win both times?”


Share This Article

The West Virginia football coach speaks on several topics, including his Red Bull intake. “It’s been high throughout the course of a game. Some games are more important than others.”

But more importantly …

Continue reading…

Call it a long night

Share This Article


Ten days after forcing 40 turnovers in a 40-minute game and winning by 47, No. 15 West Virginia forced 34 turnovers and won by 53. Western Carolina, a road-weary team that’s simply not good enough to do what it’s attempting to do, made the the trip to Charleston without its starting point guard.

It went poorly.

Western Carolina had three stretches throughout the game where it went five minutes or more without a field goal.

“We don’t let people run offense, we make people play,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “They run really good stuff, we just don’t let people get into it. Everybody is to the point where they’ve seen other people turn it over and you don’t want to turn it over, you want to take care of the ball. It’s hard to run offense when you’re constantly throwing the ball backward.”

The Catamounts — check that … — scored 37 points. WVU outscored its opponent in points off turnovers 37-0.

Continue reading…

The Good and the Bad of WVU v. Baylor

Share This Article



Dana Holgorsen was not named the Big 12’s coach of the year in media voting Tuesday, and perhaps some of the 15 people who voted for Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops among the pool of 20 reporters will make Holgorsen’s list. Today, the Big 12 coaches unveil their votes, and since the nine who can vote for Stoops lost to Stoops this season, there’s a good chance he captures that prize, too.

None of this diminishes what Holgorsen did and is doing in 2016. The media picked four first-team players from his roster, and would you believe two of them were offensive linemen? An offensive lineman and a running back made the second team. That’s probably not what everyone expected when he was hired. Ten win seasons? Runs at the top of the conference? That’s why he was hired, and he did the latter by figuring out the former.

Holgorsen still fights with himself and combats his ego from time to time, and that’s by his own admission if not with his own words, but he knows when and how to get out of the way. Yet he also knows when to apply some pressure, whether to the opponent or the accelerator.

Saturday’s win was by no means the best or prettiest of (insert time frame here), but I’m going to attempt to convince you that it was a strong performance. Look, the Mountaineers could have lost that game. They had a hard time winning it. But here they are, 10-2 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12 with a lucrative bowl game waiting on them in the Sunshine State. How did we get here? Let’s find out by taking a look at the Good and the Bad of WVU v. Baylor.

Continue reading…

Honors and I guess snubs for WVU

Share This Article


That is Rasul Douglas, and he was not the Big 12 defensive player of the year, as voted by the media covering the league. I do not vote, if you’re curious. Douglas lost to Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis by one vote.

Willis, to be clear, is a fine choice. I just think Douglas is a better choice.

But wait. There’s more.

Continue reading…

Farewell, women’s soccer

Share This Article

(No idea why this didn’t post yesterday, as was planned. Carry on …)

The Kicking Nikkis had barely broken a sweat when they found themselves trailing in yesterday’s Sunday’s national championship game, but there’s no easy way to convince anyone who paid attention that the No. 1-ranked team in the country wasn’t worthy of a win, if not the better team, in San Jose, Calif.

And yet, the College Cup is headed to USC for the second time and West Virginia’s first trip into the final four and then a step beyond ended in heartache.

It was the second championship for the Trojans (19-4-2) — USC previously won in 2007 after it beat host West Virginia in the quarterfinals.

The WVU women’s soccer team (23-2-2) was attempting to become the second program in school history to win an NCAA title, following the rifle team. It had a 21-8 edge in shots but lacked a finishing touch, except for a goal in the 66th minute by senior midfielder Ashley Lawrence that momentarily tied the game.

“I thought we did a great job battling back, creating opportunities,” WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “This sport is cruel and I thought we created some great opportunities, but at the end of the day we didn’t finish and USC did.”

Texts From Baylor Game Day

Share This Article

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


A quick note about the 2016 football season: It’s really exceeded expectations, hasn’t it? West Virginia finished 16th in the College Football Playoff ranking, which we’ll get to, as well as 14th in the media poll and 12th in the coaches poll. The Mountaineers didn’t get a vote in the preseason polls. Teams that did? Miami, Texas A&M, Washington State, San Diego State, Arkansas, Texas, Northwestern, South Florida, Toledo, Mississippi State, BYU, Appalachian State, Duke, Arizona, Marshall, Northern Illinois, Memphis and Indiana. None of them are ranked.

WVU tied for second place in the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma State. The conference coaches slotted the Mountaineers into seventh place in the preseason poll. Dana Holgorsen could win Big 12 coach of the year and Rasul Douglas could win defensive player of the year.

High times!

“Family,” said receiver Daikiel Shorts. “That’s the one word for this team: family. Everybody hangs out together outside of football. We put a lot of work in this off-season and one of our main mottos was ‘12-3-16.’ What team will we be on that date? And here we are sitting at 10-2 and ready to go to a pretty good bowl.”

“We’re gritty,” said defensive tackle Darrien Howard. “We fight until the end. That’s why I love my team. We fight until the very last whistle. We do what it takes to try and get the win. That’s what we do. That’s our identity. We fight.

“I’ve been telling myself for the past 10 months we can do something great. When we started the season, I started to see how everything was clicking, how we were on the same page and how well we communicated. I saw we could do something special.”

And the Mountaineers are feeling it. Following the game Saturday, Dana Holgorsen, with a new contract in his pocket, chose that occasion to speak out and reveal a level of bewilderment that his team was not more highly thought of or, you know, considered for one of the New Year’s Six games. Miami, the opponent in the Russell Athletic Bowl, will be the sixth of 13 opponents with a current winning record. The 10 teams the Mountaineers beat are 54-67. So they’ve got a little work left to do and one more chance to proove themselves.

The Mountaineers held nine of 12 opponents to 21 points or less but also scored 26 or fewer points six times.

“Somehow the committee doesn’t like us, because somehow we win ugly,” said Holgorsen, who is 46-30 as WVU’s coach. “That’s my opinion. I’ll probably get in trouble for it. Somebody won’t like it. I don’t care. I don’t understand how you can have two-loss teams that have bad losses and how you can have three-loss teams that have bad losses (ahead of WVU) yet we have two losses, both to top-10 teams. I don’t get it.”

The Russell Athletic had the third pick from the ACC. Clemson, which won the conference championship game, went to the CFP and the Fiesta Bowl. The Orange then picked first and selected No. 10 Florida State and the Citrus then took No. 15 Louisville. The Russell Athletic was able to choose from anyone else, including a few of WVU’s former Big East rivals like No. 22 Pitt and No. 18 Virginia Tech.

The Panthers are headed to the Pinstripe Bowl. The Hokies, who lost to Clemson in the ACC title game in Orlando and who open the 2017 season against the Mountaineers, will play in the Belk Bowl.

The Mountaineers nevertheless have an old Big East nemesis in the Hurricanes. This will be the 20th matchup, and Miami leads the series, dormant since 2003, 16-3.

“We’ll be down there in droves, I can assure you of that,” Holgorsen said. “If this hasn’t rekindled it, it will pretty quickly. I know it’s going to be fantastic for the bowl game and what it’s all about to have a matchup like this where everyone can be excited about it. This one won’t let anybody down.”

I’m talking about money and the power, power and the money. This text is magic, Stan Van Gundy. My edits are in [brackets].

Sincerely hope a surprise switch to the throwback helmets is in the works. Haven’t seen them once this year despite the 125th anniversary.

Mario’s Cowboy Wings are the best wings in the world!!!!

Gonna throw beer cans and boo Skyler, hopefully will break Geno’s 8 TDs in a game record

There goes Marvin Gross again with his Harry Potter magic! Poof…he appears!

Premature musket!

Im probably alone on this, but I don’t see how he loses the ball like that without the ball hitting the ground at some point.

Durante…you gotta catch that bro.

This senior tribute video is very Wilson Phillips 1990. #Corny

Kick the field goal, [amigo].

Oh no…that looked like Bad Skyler. Please leave him at home!

[Old] [Josh] Lambert would have made that

50 yards? Molina? Come on, son. No.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would boo Skyler Howard.

Continue reading…