Welcome to the Friday Feedback, which wants to take a step back and reassess things today. Because today is Friday. Wendell Smallwood was arrested Monday. He is still an active member of the West Virginia football roster with no prohibitions, notwithstanding the part where he’s in a Wilmington, Delaware, jail right now with a felony charge for witness intimidation on the way.
I assumed — and, yeah, that’s a dangerous word — Smallwood was in for a status change. Dana Holgorsen has been consistently consistent with doling out punishments for the various villains he’s encountered, from dismissing Branko Busick (Aside: He’s doing OK these days.) to suspending Travis Bell for the entire spring semester with every Korey Harris, D’Vante Henry and Ronald Carswell in between.
(I also know, and heard further this week, Holgorsen has been privately admirable about what I guess we’d tend to call second chances, or giving a kid a break, whether in academics, low-profile missteps, financial aid, a roster spot, so on and so forth. Maybe I can get him to disclose these things some day, but I doubt it.)
So the thought was Holgorsen would monitor the situation and act at the appropriate time, and the act could be anything from an indefinite suspension to an outright dismissal, though it made sense to go with the former with the player and the public understanding that route allowed for a return to the team and for exile.
Nothing wrong with thinking that or even endorsing that.
Except nothing happened, and, to me, that’s inconsistent with a pattern we’ve witnessed, and that I just explained above. Perhaps there is no appropriate time. I now think it’s natural to wonder if Smallwood is indeed ever due for a status change.
Let’s think about this: WVU knows the score. It was briefed, it asked questions to all parties and knows all it needs to know, including that a charge is coming. If there’s an impetus to act, WVU has it. Right?
Instead, a kid sat in a jail cell for four days and three nights, alone with his thoughts, and then had to go all the way to Delaware to be charged. We had some theories about this here Monday and, well, they seem sound now, don’t they?
Mean time, people are writing and forwarding opinions that Holgorsen should have acted by now, which is true, but only if Dana believed it was necessary … like he has all those times before. That he hasn’t done anything in this instance says something, I think.
I don’t know, but it’s my job to be skeptical and to put things together. I’ve thought things over a bunch the past few days and this thing, at the minimum, seems wonky. I don’t believe Dana wants to bring this to Dallas with him and deal with it throughout Big 12 media day, but maybe he won’t have to, or maybe that’s the plan attached to a belief this will be resolved soon and a hope it happens before WVU’s appearance Tuesday.
Housekeeping: I’m in Dallas Sunday-Wednesday and then go on vacation, which … let’s not say what we’re thinking, given what I just spent 500 words on. I return to regular duty Aug. 1 and camp opens a day later.
Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted, In other words, never forget
Bobby Heenan said:
“They really need a free safety to make this tick, though.”
Couldn’t agree more. To me, this is what scares me most about the defense this year. In a pass happy B12, looking at a depth chart at FS of Jeremy Tyler, Ricky Rumph, and Carlton Nash makes me a little nervous.
With absolutely nothing to substantiate this, I contend that had he kept out of trouble, senior Travis Bell would be our starting FS entering the fall.
I wouldn’t dismiss Bell because Dana hasn’t dismissed Bell. I suspect he’ll be reinstated, and though he’ll have work to do, he’ll at least be there. I wouldn’t forget about Dravon Henry, though that may be a long shot for a freshman. That may be more gradual than immediate. So that’s four names, no disrespect intended to Mr. Nash.
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