WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

Sidebars from Scottsdale

So much of what has gone on around West Virginia’s football program lately has not been about the team. It’s been about a devastating loss to Pitt and the consequences, the coaching change and a coaching search, the impact on recruiting and the preparation for the bowl game and, of course, this recent lawsuit.

The arrival here for the Fiesta Bowl seemed to turn the page on all of that and begin a new chapter, one about just football. Talk about the team, the players, the coaches, the game, the opponent, hell, even the weather.

It was refreshing, the Mountaineers admitted, to talk about things that mattered, things they could control. Suddenly, you couldn’t help but notice this team is very ready fto play Oklahoma and not at all preoccupied with the past.

But what if WVU named a coach today. Or tomorrow. Or any time before Jan. 2 and the game for which the team has worked so hard to ready itself?

“It would be a distraction,” senior safety Ryan Mundy said.

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Sidebars from Scottsdale

My only regret in this post is that it took me so long to find and share this — and don’t begrudge me for it comes from Oklahoma fans.

Re: WVU Lookalike Thread…Why not this early??


Andy Emery and



Vanilla Ice

Sidebars from Scottsdale

Yes, this is the name. Apologies to Blogoney.  Proceed…

I’ll be honest: I’m a little surprised by the weather here. It ranges from cold to chilly and back to cold throughout the day and when it is warm, it lasts but a few hours and the temperature is compromised by the breeze. It’s bizarre.

For example, I’m sitting on the patio at the hotel and staring at 11 cacti of varying sizes. Off along the distant horizon is a mountain and I’m pretty sure there are snow caps. This makes no sense to me.

Or others.

“I flew in wearing shorts and a T-shirt actually because I was ready for the desert,” WVU kicker Pat McAfee said. “I got of the plane and it was not shorts and a T-shirt weather.”

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Day Two, Part III

We’ll get into this more later, but here’s the most significant part of the lawsuit filed Thursday by WVU’s Board of Governors against Rich Rodriguez. Having been through a lawsuit before — I speak of John Beilein’s and not of my own — I found a few really interesting things within and think WVU did a commendable job defending itself and laying accusations upon Rodriguez.

Day Two, Part II

* Probably the best quote of the year came Friday and was authored, of course, by kicker Pat McAfee. It’d been a trying time for McAfee, who missed two field goals in the loss to Pitt and had his house and car vandalized and death threats posted on his Facebook page. Asked if that was over, he replied, “I think old Coach Rod took that target right off of my back and decided to put it on his. I really appreciate him for that. Everything’s calmed down.”

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Day Two, Part I

* First some clerical business. A few really good suggestions for the name. Let’s vote,

Fiesta Fodder
Sidebars from Scottsdale
Glendale Glen Ross
CasAZza Blog
Blogoney
A journal of the highlights, sidelights, and lowlights of the Mountaineers’ preparation for the game named after a party snack that is held at a stadium named after a fake university
Salsa Central, brought to you by Tostitos

To whoever e-mailed me the suggestion “I get paid for this?” I didn’t know if I should have been delighted or insulted. I decided since it wasn’t posted, I should move on. Moving on…

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Day One, Part II

The most exciting part of practice was leaving the field at Scottsdale Community college and dodging the footballs kicked over the fence as WVU worked on field goals. What was supposed to start at 1:30 p.m. began closer to 2 o’clock and interim coach Bill Stewart was able to squeeze in a quick workout as he walked brisk laps around the sports complex with safeties coach Bruce Tall.

* For a bit, the talk of Butch Jones withdrawing his name from the coaching search worked its way around the field, but by the time we left we learned it was a bogus report. He’s still in play.

* Freshman running back Noel Devine was not at practice. He had flight trouble in Fort Myers, Fla., and was expected to join the team tonight. Stewart said the Mountaineers are otherwise healthy and whatever players have new or previous dings should be fine.

*Finally, the media received Oakley sunglasses upon arrival at the obscenely ornate JW Marriot Camelback Inn. 

Day One, Part I

West Virginia practices at 1:30 p.m. today at Scottsdale Community College and for 20 minutes we are allowed to watch the practice, which is to say we’ll get an idea of how well the Mountaineers stretch.

I’m here to tell you, there is no need to worry about Ryan Mundy’s hamstrings. He really got them loose this afternoon.

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So what do I get?

Leaving Dulles Airport in a few hours for Phoenix and the Fiesta Bowl prep — you do remember there’s a bowl, right? Anyhow, I columnized today about the bowl packages players receive and thought it might interest you to see what everyone else gets.

Bowl blog ought to be lively, particularly Saturday and Sunday when the newspaper does not print, but I do not rest.  As for the obligatory coaching news, there is none. Everyone went silent for the holiday and it’s unlikely many candidates would remove themselves from 24 hours of “A Christmas Story” for the sole purpose of an interview. Seems to me WVU will use the opportunity of being out west to conduct some business there.

Season’s Greetings from Rich…

Dear assistant coaches:

Merry Christmas!

I am,
Rich Rodriguez

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