Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

WVU v. Oklahoma: Who will answer the bell?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Greetings from above Mountaineer Field, where there is a good football game coming bad news preceding it. Cornerback Travis Bell is not playing today. All I’m told is that he’s won’t be in uniform, and though the reason is not yet disclosed and the length of his absence is unknown, it does further deplete West Virginia’s thinning depth there.

And it is here where we note that Dana Holgorsen went into great depth about his cornerback play at his press conference Tuesday and never named Bell, who didn’t play against Maryland.

Moving  on, Daryl Worley, we know, is suspended and Bell will be elsewhere today. Ishmael Banks will see his first action of the season today and Jaylon Myers figures to get his most sign.ificant burn, too. Terrell Chestnut has been on a roll, but he’s never been in a role like he is now. Dana Holgorsen’s comments about depth are going to have to ring true again today.

Let’s go deep…

Attorneys: Worley defended girlfriend

Friday, September 19, 2014

MORGANTOWN — Attorneys representing suspended West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley presented Friday a second version of the events that led to the sophomore facing a misdemeanor battery charge.

A press release signed by Rocky Gianola and Dave Jecklin, of the Morgantown firm Gianola, Barnum, Bechtel & Jecklin, contends Worley “defends his long-time girlfriend from an advancing female bar patron who had earlier that night threatened to fight his girlfriend.”

Citing eyewitness statements, the press release says “the advancing female grabs Daryl’s girlfriend’s leg immediately before the video shows him pushing the female away in a non-provoking manner.”

A press release from the Morgantown Police Department Wednesday said only that surveillance video from the downtown night club Lux, where the incident occurred, shows Worley put his hands around a woman’s neck and pushed her to the ground.

Worley’s attorneys further say that their version is “corroborated not only by the video but also by several eye witness statements that we have obtained.”

“When all the facts and circumstances are released,” they continued, “we are confident that it will demonstrate that there is more to this story than what is being reported.”

Worley, 19, turned himself in Wednesday and was arraigned and released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. The maximum punishment for Worley’s charge is a year in jail and a $500 fine.

The Mountaineers, who play host to No. 4 Oklahoma Saturday night, suspended Worley indefinitely Monday night without seeing a video of the incident, university officials told the Charleston Daily Mail Thursday. WVU had not seen the video when Worley was charged two days later.

A police spokesperson said the video is not currently obtainable through a public records request or for the media to view because it’s considered evidence as part of an ongoing investigation. At least one media outlet has reported seeing the video. It also detailed the footage.

“Some members of the media are making conclusions regarding the video of the incident involving our client. … We ask everyone to please remember that everyone, including Daryl, is considered innocent until proven guilty,” the attorneys wrote.

When Worley was arraigned in Morgantown Magistrate Court, he and Jecklin were informed the next court date for the case might not be before November. Friday’s press release suggests a quicker conclusion.

“We intend to discuss Daryl’s version of events, the video, the eye witness statements, and all the evidence with the prosecutor at the appropriate time,” the release read. “This matter will be resolved through the court system.”

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Friday Feedback

Friday, September 19, 2014

Welcome to the Friday Feedback which … man, this was tremendously tremendous.

We were already friends with and fans of Chris B. Brown. Now I want a Tony Jefferson jersey.

We also had reminders about Bad Twitter this week thanks to the the sort of stuff I’m certain we’ll get into and try to deftly manage here. But going back to the to-and-fro above, wow, what memories from that night. I’ve never seen something like that before, something so electric and so unexpected, and I can’t remember something so great being, ultimately, so unfulfilling. I find it funny how many people I come across who who think WVU won that night. Same thing with the Quincy Wilson run in that one Miami game.

Anyhow, don’t expect something quite like that tomorrow night. Oklahoma’s defense is nothing like what it was that night, when Dana Holgorsen sprung one of the great cat-and-mouse surprises ever. The Sooners are a 3-4/3-3-5 now that gets by on a mean front and uncomfortable coverage in the back, and they made changes due in large part to getting pantsed that one night. There was a cumulative effect, of course, and things had been trending that way, but it reached a crescendo right there. In the past season-plus, Oklahoma’s been as disruptive, as stingy, as good as anyone at defense.

It’s interesting, because one of WVU’s great positives when playing Oklahoma was familiarity. They run, in essence, the same offense. One may differ from the other in certain areas, but how they’ve learned and how they teach the offense is so similar that it’s easy for one to understand and anticipate the differences of the other. And since they are operating the same offenses, they understand how to defend it because they know what they don’t like to see from opposing defenses.

Then the Sooners go off and change what they do on defense, and you wonder, until you say, “Whoa, hey, it’s a 3-3-5!” It is and it isn’t. Eric Striker is that swing guy, like K.J. Dillon is for WVU. They’re not the same player, as Dillon is more safety than linebacker and Striker is more linebacker than safety. Striker makes Oklahoma more of a versatile 3-4 whereas Dillon completes the 3-3-5. And, please, stop me if you’ve heard this, but WVU rolls with the odd stack. Oklahoma is an odd front and with its own preferences for how it plays the gaps and such. It’s different, but, again, the basics are close enough that there’s some value in it as one gets ready for the other.

The major and, I don’t know, overlooked and underpublicized part of this? WVU’s offense is — prepare yourself — better this season than it was in the influential 2012 game. Reason being? Having two outside receivers is more beneficial than having one outside and one slot receiver.

“I think overall we’re probably a better offensive unit than we were then,” WVU offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said.

Bailey and Austin — with sizable contributions from Geno Smith — made the 2012 offense the best the school has seen. White and Alford do more for this offense because of what they do to the defense. Bailey was an outside receiver and Austin was an inside receiver. White and Alford are both outside receivers.

The difference matters.

“If you ask defensive guys, I think the overall threat level from outside guys is more threatening than from inside guys when those (outside) guys can take it to the house whenever,” Dawson said. “An outside guy being a threat, I think that probably scares a defense a little more than an inside guy, so having two of those guys is a good thing.”

Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, copying has consequences.

JP said:

Kevin White looks like a man among boys on the field. I guess he’s the answer to my where’s the next Dez Bryant/Michael Crabtree complaint. He let a pass to him in the back of the end zone bounce off his hands though.

I am surprised about Alford’s proficiency at catching fade route jump balls, since he doesn’t have the height advantage that White has.

Our defense came up with so many big stops. It’s nice to have a couple decent corners so that you can bring more pressure more often. And when they dropped 7 or 8 into coverage, they still consistently pressured the Md QB with a 3 or 4 man rush. Who is the d lineman coach again? Oh that’s right, Scrap Bradley.

Starting with Scrap, you’re seeing Hyman and Nwachukwu benefit from game reps. I thought they were better at the end of Saturday’s game than they were when it started. As for White, he’s jumping up draft boards, and this is not thought to be an especially strong draft class for receivers. One drop — and it was somewhat defended on the way down — won’t damage him. Alford has underrated body control, too. He can play bigger when he measures his strides, which then expands his catching radius for fades and deep balls.


You’ll Never Talk Alone: S3E4

Thursday, September 18, 2014

We’re live at 11 a.m. for the weekly football chat and all your thoughts and questions about WVU v. Oklahoma plus whatever else calls to mind. Tell the world!

Live Blog You’ll Never Talk Alone: S3E4

Daryl Worley charged

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Daryl Worley turned himself in to city police this afternoon, not long after a warrant was issued for his arrest Wednesday. Worley is accused of grabbing a woman by the throat and shoving her to the ground during an altercation at a downtown nightclub. The misdemeanor battery charge is punishable buy up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. He was arraigned in Morgantown Magistrate Court and released on a $10,000 bond.

The Morgantown Police Department press release from this afternoon:


It cements many of the whispers we’ve heard the past 36 hours, and there are other extenuating details and circumstances in the wind that have not yet been solidified. Whether those are part of the reality, and whether that even matter given the offense, is to be determined.

Wednesday Walkthrough: Oklahoma

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sorry for the delay. Working the latest on Daryl Worley.

Dana Holgorsen: Oklahoma Week

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Will you or won’t you read into the cryptic Darly Worley status?

The Good and the Bad of WVU v. Maryland

Tuesday, September 16, 2014



This guy. Unbelievable.

He was in that very position on that very play for five full seconds, and you can see all the looks he was getting once it happened. He was driven into the ground and had to mess with his helmet and blink a few times once he did get back up to his feet. And it wasn’t that kind of hit, which underscores the caution Dana Holgorsen and Shannon Dawson insist upon when they praise and critique Clint Trickett.

But for a moment, however brief, I wondered and likely you wondered what was going to happen Saturday and the eight Saturdays and one Thursday that follow because of what happened on the ninth play here.

And homey plays 99 more snaps and throws for 511 yards. The starting quarterback for the New York Jets is the only guy to top that, but no one in WVU lore has thrown for more yards in a road game.

Let’s go with the Geno Smith comparisons, shall we? Physically, there aren’t many except that they throw the ball with the same arm and they had the early part of their WVU careers altered by injuries. I guess when they want to be or have to be they’re similarly capable, if that’s the right word, with their legs, but Geno was bigger and had a better arm.

But Clint has more yards through three games here than Geno had in the first three games of his three seasons … and Peak Geno only had one three-game span at any point in any season with more yards (1,405 yards in the second, third and fourth games of the 2012 season against FCS James Madison, game Maryland and atrocious Baylor … though that remains the gold standard for quarterback play.) Clint’s done this against Alabala, two-plus quarters of FCS Towson and game Maryland. This is heady stuff.

Geno had more touchdowns in the first three in 2012, but just as many in the first three in 2011 (seven) that Clint has now. Geno’s completion percentage in 2012, with rare exceptions, was ridiculous, but Clint is better in 2014 than Geno was in 2011, and he shouldn’t be made to apologize for 75.4 percent merely because it pales in comparison to Geno’s 81.4 percent to start the 2012 season.

I think Clint sees things Geno saw, whether before or during the snap or when things get dicey, and that speaks to an awareness, a comfort, a zone that is hard to reach and harder to attain. WVU can do and set up and take the things it wants, where that almost never happened last season, with or without Clint, who I just realized secured First Name status here. Anyhow, the ball is going to the right place with very few exceptions, and when you’re snapping it 90 or so times a game and throwing on about half of them, to say nothing of being in charge of whether to run or throw on most of them, that’s sort of special.

The weapons around both matter, but that’s another comparison and another conversation for another day.  How did we get here? Let’s find out by taking a look at the Good and the Bad of WVU v. Maryland.

Good: Hidden yardage
My head was not down and I was not writing as this happened because this whole drive was captivating. Consider it started with Jordan Thompson’s decision to let a punt bounce at his 22-yard line and roll back 17 yards to give his team a chance to win the game and a directive to not set up Maryland’s game-winning possession. Then Dreamius Smith gets four straight carries after carrying just three times all game and only days after his running backs coach sized him up. Then Dustin Garrison trots on the field and catches that laser screen that always looks a tick away from disaster, but he manages to turn it into a 13-yard savior on third-and-9. Then Daikiel Shorts makes a play. Then … well, you get the point. But those are three reserves in the critical sequence of the game, and all along the clock is ticking away and the Mountaineers seem lost in “Well, we wanted to be careful and at worst punt with just a little time left and Maryland showing no timeouts, and now we might win and we have three timeouts and every reason to believe we can do this, so how do we not screw this up to put a cherry atop this sundae?” And they didn’t screw it up. It was fantastic and you sort of have to believe Holgorsen when he says they executed it perfectly. You’re inclined to believe that was the plan. Look, his brand of football requires constant audibles, so you have to allow for some wild moments, and that was one drawn-out wild moment. And it worked, right down to the scream-inducing pass here that is actually necessary. I knew the numbers: Josh Lambert is 1-for-5 from 50 yards and out in his career, and 35 + 17 = 52. A 52-yard kick requires a low trajectory, and Lambert has had two kicks blocked this season that were inside 50 yards. So, yeah, four yards is valuable. WVU knew it and Maryland didn’t. Call a timeout there, as many wanted Holgorsen to do, and then go run a play and Maryland can cover it. There was no timeout and there is a huge cushion in front of Mario Alford. That set up the game-winner, which was inside 50 yards.


Daryl Worley suspended indefinitely

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dana Holgorsen announced late tonight the starting cornerback has been suspended for violating team rules. He likely won’t play Saturday night against No. 4 Oklahoma. WVU welcomes previously suspended cornerback Ishmael Banks back from suspension this week. It’s early and this is speculative, but expect Travis Bell to start in Worley’s place and for Jaylon Myers, who finished the Maryland game, and Banks to play some against the Sooners.

(Tuesday morning update: Not a lot I can tell you on this one because I don’t yet know the situation. What I find interesting is Worley isn’t ruled out for Saturday. That may be something you and I and others picked out of a cursory statement, but, for now, it persists. We’ll ask today. I suspect he won’t play because if WVU wasn’t sure about Worley’s availability — that is, if this was a temporary suspension that could be cleared up by Thursday — the Mountaineers wouldn’t have said a word until they absolutely had to. Right?)

Texts From Maryland Game Day

Monday, September 15, 2014

So I wonder: Are you yet convinced? What we spoke of last week was that, yes, the Maryland game does seem to help determine the eventual fate of West Virginia’s football season, but that it was more significant than mere foreshadowing this time around. The Mountaineers made a lot of changes after last season’s debacle in Baltimore and you wanted and, frankly, needed to see a different outcome a year later.

Time is a commodity that can’t be wasted in college football … a reality of which you were made acutely aware around 3:40 p.m. Saturday. (By the way … what are we talking about today if WVU loses that game in OT? Seriously.)

But you had to figure you’d learn more about Dana Holgorsen as well as his team based off the third game this season. Towson wasn’t pointless. I mean, 54-0 says something, and it had been a while since  the Mountaineers had their way, did what they wanted and, perhaps most significantly, did what they were supposed to do. But what could you use after that?

Alabama was encouraging, but again, I can’t tell you enough how much of a difference an entire summer makes when it comes to preparation and closing the gap that exists between programs.

There was a gap between Maryland for the past year and there wasn’t a ton of time to close it — except that WVU used all of that time to close it with roster and coaching changes and maturation and development on offense, defense and the sidelines. The result? Well, the defense allowed 37 points, again, but the offense scored 40 and WVU won a game it would not have won last season.

“Previous teams probably would have said, ‘Enough’s enough,’ and shut it down,” Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said. “But I like this team a lot. I like the camaraderie they’ve got. I love the coaching staff’s camaraderie they’ve got going on. There are a bunch of guys who believe in each other and they kept fighting.

“They had opportunities to say, ‘No more,’ but they didn’t cave into it. There were so many ups and downs and good things and bad things. It was a heck of a football game, but I’m certainly glad we came out on top.”

Remember, WVU lost four games it led in the fourth quarter last season and one it led in the third quarter. But the defense was actually pretty good in Saturday’s second half and the offense mattered when it had to matter after halftime — and you can’t dismiss the fireworks in the first half — and together they overcame abysmal special teams play.

The Mountaineers are 2-1 when, correct me if I’m wrong, you would have stolen 2-2 in June.

And now this: Oklahoma is an 11 1/2-point favorite Saturday night, which feels about right for the No. 4-ranked team in the country. WVU was a 27 1/2-point underdog to No. 2 Alabama, which still feels too high. Anyhow, the gap between Oklahoma and Alabama, between a neutral-site game and a road game, is not 16 points. The difference is a different WVU.

Tater tots on my shotgun, now I’ve got to text one at the stars. Sky’s the limit, now I’ve got to finish as the first rapper on Mars. My edits are in [brackets].

UM is really missing out on some synergies by not bringing in Animal Planet reality star and toothless backwoods icon Ernie Brown Jr. aka Turtle Man (!)

to sing (or holler) the national anthem.

Didn’t realize this is the last UM game for a while.  I’ll almost miss the ubiquitous “barometer for the season” talking point.

For me, the “name” Triumph on those UM jerseys evokes Triumph the insult comic dog.  As in “Hey Maryland!   Nice uniforms … for me to poop on!”

It says here Francis Scott Key died of pleurisy.  Couldn’t Nike whip up some unis for WVU with a lung disease theme?  I bet there are some Oregon prot

otypes just lying on a shelf somewhere that would unintentionally fit the bill.

I want to punch scott mcbrien in the face