WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

Kevin Hart exposed … you’re not surprised, right?

Well, it appears, as it did from the very beginning, that Kevin Hart is a liar.

A prep football player who had claimed he was duped into believing he was recruited to play at a Pac-10 school admitted Wednesday he made up the story.

Kevin Hart, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman for Fernley High School, offered a broad apology in a statement he issued through the Lyon County School District. Hart said he had wanted to play football at a Division I school “more than anything.”

“When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality. I am sorry for disappointing and embarrassing my family, coaches, Fernley High School, the involved universities and reporters covering the story,” Hart said.

You’ll remember when first we stumbled upon this (allegedly) unfortunate kid.

I think it’s safe to say there’s a place reserved at the devil’s dinner table for the truly detestable person/people behind this prank. Stay tuned…

That was me and I trust you know that was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The “Stay tuned…” suggested how I and many others called shenanigans. There is no way — NO WAY — a kid goes through the recruiting process without visiting a campus he might one day attend or actually meeting the head coach at that college. Some of you suggested the same and suspected something strange.

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A belated happy birthday to …

… John Beilein, who has had luck on past birthdays — this was Pittsnogle’s coming out game — but celebrated No. 55 Tuesday with a whimper as Michigan faded late and lost to Ohio State. That, of course, came after a players-only meeting, which is usually a bad sign. The Wolverines are now 5-17 (admit it, ill will or not, you didn’t expect that kind of struggle) and Beilein admits it’s been a tumultuous transition.

“I really didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be with a brand new team,” Beilein said. “I think we lost a lot of our confidence there. It’s difficult to build confidence when you’re having trouble just getting an open shot, like against Georgetown.” 

As for everything else, it seems poor Rich Rodriguez is dodging the finger of blame.

– Early departure of Michigan receivers for NFL draft? Check!
– Diminished maize-and-blue reputation? Check! 
- Turnover in WVU recruiting class? Check!
– Losses in future athletic department revenue? Check!
– Rain again on Wednesday? Check!
– Tuesday’s twisters in the south? Check!
– Ryan Mallett challenging NCAA rules? Check!

Under traditional NCAA rules, Mallett must redshirt in 2008 transferring from one NCAA Division I school to another.

However, Mallett and his parents, Jim and Debbie Mallett, are appealing through the UA that extenuating circumstances regarding the head coaching change at Michigan from Lloyd Carr, the longtime Michigan coach who recruited Mallett, to former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez gives cause for Mallett’s eligibility at Arkansas to begin in 2008 rather than 2009.

“We feel it’s a little bit different than transferring because you are not happy with where you are,” Debbie Mallett said when contacted Tuesday at the family’s home.

Debbie Mallett said her son did not fit the Spread offense that Rodriguez brings from West Virginia to Michigan.

“He didn’t fit the system there,” Debbie Mallett said. “It’s not his fault that the university hired Coach Rodriguez. Certainly, Coach Rodriguez should be allowed to run the offense he wants to run. And when I tried to talk to Ryan about possibly staying through the spring, he said, ‘ He didn’t recruit me out of high school. He’s not interested in me. That’s not the type of quarterback he wants to run his offense. ‘ Ryan said he thought that it would be a total waste of his time. That at least’I can be in another system learning their offense. ‘ Of course he doesn’t want to sit out. So that’s kind of where we are at. We are letting the University kind of deal with it for us.”

And here comes the other side

Show of hands: Who was wondering how the Michigan folks felt about their new football coach? If I wasn’t typing, mine would be in the air. Well, at long last, someone examined and explained the view from the other side of the fence — and it’s not entirely pretty.

Michigan used to be all about football. Now it’s about news. Rodriguez managed to get a big loan from Michigan athletic director Bill Martin’s bank. Hmmm. Seems like Martin is bending over backward to please and appease Rodriguez, and in the process the entire university is becoming contorted as well.

Winning, of course, is the perfect elixir. Yet, it does seem like Rodriguez will be up against it his first season.

He has no experienced quarterback. Nor a QB agile enough to run his spread option all that effectively. They are literally holding their breath in Ann Arbor at the prospect of signing quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Imagine it – all that football tradition being held up by one kid who clearly loves the attention.

On the eve of signing day…

Here’s a story I truly never thought I’d read about. Furthermore, I’m not even sure how to react to this odd drama involving Nevada offensive lineman Kevin Hart. It’s … it’s … it’s riveting and revolting at once. Imagine, for a moment, what the kid is going through right now. And how does Cal feel? I think it’s safe to say there’s a place reserved at the devil’s dinner table for the truly detestable person/people behind this prank. Stay tuned…

So throughout the season, I look ahead at WVU’s schedule and jot down what I suspect the outcomes will be. Needless to say, I’ve changed my mind a few times in the month or so I’ve been doing this.

Just last week, I figured that as WVU played toward the NCAA Tournament, it might play three or four more games against ranked teams. Now I see one, maybe two. I thought the Mountaineers could win six of the final 10 regular season games. I still see six, but it’s not the same six. 

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Let’s get to know Tevita Finau, a rather interesting character originally from New Zealand (he was on the national 16-and-under rugby team) who moved to Hawaii, played at Phoenix College last year and happens to be a very good defensive lineman. Finau made a notable commitment to WVU’s recruiting class last week.

Some Finau highlight videos have hit the internet. It’s not at the Noel Devine level — is anything? — but he is wearing No. 7 and he makes a ton of plays. Finau’s pledge to play at WVU is the biggest news for the recruiting class and his play-making power is particularly appealing for a group heavy on  defensive linemen to replace Johnny Dingle and Keilen Dykes.

Inspired ball

A month from now, we might see WVU’s awful loss to Cincinnati as the game that kept it out of the NCAA Tournament … or perhaps it’s the game the delivered team there. Really, it’s up to them.

The Mountaineers haven’t been as low as they were Wednesday night and Coach Bob Huggins says they are in a hole now. Yet Saturday night, they began to climb out of it with a victory at Providence and an exhibition that indicated they’re a refocused group and on the same page with Huggins.

Huggins said was like a bunch of boys playing against men.

Then you add in the fact that Huggins lost to a team coached by former assistant Mick Cronin, who basically distanced himself from his former boss in order to get the head coaching job.

“It was disappointing because even though he’s our guy, Huggs is our boy,” Alexander said. “We felt that we kind of screwed him over.”

Things that go thud in the night

Um, how about Rich Rodriguez’s much anticipated legal response to the lawsuit levied against him by his former employer, West Virginia University?

“The only way to tell whether or not West Virginia University has been damaged is to see if its donations to the foundation have decreased and/or if other expenses have increased,” his lawyers said, noting WVU hired assistant coach Bill Stewart to replace Rodriguez at a significantly smaller salary.

Rodriguez asked the court to make the foundation a third party to the lawsuit, citing recent news releases that claimed gifts to the foundation “were at an all-time high.” He wants the right to examine its books to find out if donations have dropped off since his departure.

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Friday Feedback

A brief edition before we take off for Providence. No need to dance around this morning, though if we danced, I’d wear all gold. Call me crazy, but I thought Bob Huggins looked good.

Others disagree…

OB1 said:

After the Pitt debacle and the train wreck last night this state should seriously consider the criminalization of wearing all gold.

As always, comments appear as posted…

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