The Sock 'Em, Bust 'Em Board Because that's our custom

Clearly, they do not attend Northern Colorado

When Morgantown High graduate Patrick Shadlewent to Syracuse two summers ago, he did so with a scholarhip and with hopes he’d win the competition to be the team’s regular placekicker. He did not and instead lost out to another true freshman, walk-on John Barker.

“He ended up going 8-for-12 on field goals and three of his misses hit the uprights,” Shadle said Wednesday, “so that’s a pain in the (posterior).”

Shadle was 0-for-1 that season. He and Barker were two of six true freshmen to play in 2005. Now Shadle is the kicker and Barker, who has since earned a scholarship, is the holder.

Believe it or not, the two are also roommates.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to live with him two years ago, I’ll tell you that right now. There wasn’t a lot of good blood between us back then. We both wanted the job and we were both fighting our butts off to win it. But now we’re the best of pals. We’ve got a great relationship. We actually golf two or three times a week. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

If only it wasn’t too late for Mitch Cozad

Terrelle’s trouble

Jeannette (Pa.) two-sport prep star Terrelle Pryor, whose abilities in both football and basketball have top colleges including West Virginia vying for his services, found himself in a little bit of trouble Saturday. Apparently, actions sometimes don’t speak louder than words.

Pryor, 18, was with friends at Kennywood for Phantom Fright Nights when he became involved in a verbal confrontation with another man, who he said inappropriately touched a female friend. West Mifflin Police Chief Joseph Popovich said the confrontation never became physical but confirmed it involved a female friend of Pryor’s.

Kennywood police asked Pryor to leave the park, which he agreed to do, but he also demanded a refund. When police refused, Pryor called the Kennywood policeman a “rent-a-cop.” 

Pryor recently revealed Ohio State, Florida and West Virginia were his top three choices. Both are strong in football and basketball and Pryor is serious about playing both in college.

So everyone makes a fuss when college football takes over Friday night and nudges aside high school football. What then do we say about tonight’s high school game on ESPN2 when Thursday night has in recent years been reserved for college football?

I, for one, expect a lot of people to say “Hey, isn’t that…” and the answer will be yes.

Two of the top five teams in the top level of Alabama high school football square off when Class 6A’s No. 2 Daphne takes on No. 5 Foley. Foley features receiver Julio Jones, who is considered the best high school player in the nation. Jones will not be alone as Daphne has a few stars, too.

Daphne can counter with some super talent of its own — like Auburn commitment Reggie Hunt at tailback and speedy Coley White at quarterback. White is the younger brother of Heisman candidate and West Virginia quarterback Pat White.

“I think there are a lot of story lines that make this game attractive to a national audience,” said Vickery. “Kenny Stabler played at Foley and Pat played at Daphne. It’s just a great opportunity for our two programs and for our state to take the national stage.”

Because you’re wondering, Coley is pretty good and has been offered scholarships by WVU, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Central Michigan and Florida International.

He’s got interviews down pat

Perhaps it is because he grew tired of having to answer too many questions about his infrequent kicking errors and not enough about his plentiful successes, but West Virginia kicker/punter Pat McAfee has turned his interview opportunities into a weekly can’t-miss moment that is equal parts insightful and incredible.

He’s requested every week and he shows up without fail … and never without material. Tuesday gave us another entertaining example when McAfee was asked about his recollections of his first trip to the Carrier Dome in 2005.

Again, that’s the Carrier Dome.

“All I remember is it was rocking. It was my first game ever (at WVU) and I was really nervous. I was getting some jitterbugs. It was really loud in there. (pause) Great wind. The wind is always at your back in there. It’s always at your back. But the sun is always in your eyes. I’m concentrating really hard. I’m going to get a visor this week.”

About Brady’s whereabouts…

If you were able to block out the 10 turnovers and peer through the 67,000-plus wild fans inside Raymond James Stadium Friday night, it’s possible you noticed a pseudo Mountaineers mascot. Turns out the real deal, Brady Campbell, was unable to make the game.

Insert your “None of the Mountaineers showed up!” joke here…

Bill Nevin, West Virginia’s Assistant Director of News and Information Services, said Campbell was in Morgantown taking the LSATs — law school admission test. He was replaced by the alternate, Kyle Chapman. Campbell will be back on the sidelines Saturday at Syracuse.

Orange feel run down

Take a look at Syracuse’s statistical breakdown thus far this season and tell me you see what I see. I’ll give you a few moments…

The Orange struggle to stop the run — and this isn’t news as you’ll remember WVU’s Big East-record 457 yards rushing in last year’s game — but at least they’re not one-dimensional.

They can’t run the ball, either.

The combination makes Saturday’s game against the Mountaineers particularly interesting. WVU is No. 24 nationally in rush defense (97.4 yards per game) and No. 3 in rushing offense (323.2 yards per game). No matter what quarterback plays for WVU, be it Patrick White or Jarrett Brown or both, a run-pass dual threat typically gives the Orange fits, making this, according to the Syracuse Post-Dispatch, a bit of a mismatch.

A team that cannot run the ball will struggle to put drives together. It will punt on fourth-and-one from midfield down seven rather than gamble. It will pass on third-and-one rather than run, because it has no faith in even making a yard on the ground.

A team that cannot stop the run will struggle to end an opponent’s drives. Missed tackles in open space will turn no gains into big gains. Linebackers getting run over in the hole by backs and being dragged an extra 2 or 3 yards downfield signal to future foes that there is an obvious weakness begging to be exploited.

Protecting the quarterback

Curious and concerned about the severity of a thigh bruise — seriously, if Patrick White comes out of a game, it’s serious; I’ve seen him drag himself around the field far too many times to even allow arguments to the contrary –  I called West Virginia’s football trainer, Dave Kerns. All I wanted was a simple definition of the injury, a plan for the rehab and an idea as to what physical limitations can be expected.

Eventually, I got the answers and will present them in a story Tuesday morning. First, though, was an interesting back-and-forth with Kerns. I explained who I was and what I was up to, when Kerns replied.

“How do I know you are who you say you are?”

Immediately, I understood.

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Try as West Virginia Coach Rich Rodriguez might to deny the possibility, it sure seems like he influenced the outcome of Friday’s game against South Florida in ways other than play-calling.

Rodriguez said last week that his Mountaineers were like baseball’s New York Yankees because both have a way of filling visiting stadiums. According to the Tampa Tribune, the Bulls did not care for the comparison .

”We did it again,” said defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, drenched from a postgame Gatorade bath.

Burnham was especially fired up about beating the Mountaineers, who were all wearing New York Yankees hats when they stepped off the bus before the game. Earlier this week, Coach Rich Rodriguez compared the Mountaineers’ following on road games to the Yankees.

”You tell West Virginia, they can take those Yankees hats and stick them … you know what I’m saying,” Burnham said.

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Friday feedback

Needless to say, I was more surprised than Fred Goldman to see some activity in the comment section this week. In order to encourage such behavior, let’s read and discuss.

JX says:

Lloyd Carr is NOT a good coach….no no no!

And, LSU is in fact the best team in the country.

/2 pennies.

I’m not going to argue about LSU. As for Lloyd Carr and Michigan, well, I’m not convinced Lloyd Christmas doesn’t have a headset this year. Still, you don’t bumble your way to a national championship … and you probably don’t turn Tom Brady into a sixth-round draft pick, either. The national title is long forgotten, the loss to Appy State is not and the Wolverines almost have to beat Ohio State this season to keep the ax from falling.

It occurs to me that a bad football season might disillusion fans and affect an unsuspecting victim in Ann Arbor.

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So that explains the sellout

The secret to Raymond James Stadium selling all 65,857 tickets for tonight’s South Florida-West Virginia game? Not two ranked teams. Not a battle for Big East supremacy. Not even ESPN2. At least not according to this story in The Ledger, in Lakeland, Fla.

Raymond James Stadium has one big advantage, said Bledsoe, the senior from Titusville. Though he is eager for USF to achieve parity with Florida and other football powers, he noted that alcohol sales are banned at college-owned stadiums.

“Me and all my friends like Ray-J, and you can drink beers at Ray-J,” said Bledsoe, who is 22 and can drink legally. “That’s crucial.”