The States of College Football: West Virginia
Posted By:Jason Cooper - Charleston, SC Tags:
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The post-Pat White era has officially started whether anyone likes it or not. Enter Jarrett Brown, a 6’ 4”, 221 pound senior, who will be behind center this year for the Mountaineers. Over the past 3 years, Jarrett has played in a few games (eg, South Florida, Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt…yes, THAT Pitt game) when Pat White was injured; so, he’s had some experience on the field. In fact, he was even used as a “fullback” and a wide receiver last year. But now, he’s the man. Judging by his build, he won’t be a running threat by any stretch of the imagination, but the guy can throw the rock. Supposedly, Jarrett Brown fits more into the football scheme and vision of Bill Stewart (coach) and Jeff Mullen (offensive coordinator) than did Pat White. Did anyone notice that Pat White threw the ball much more in ’08 than previous years, especially in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl against North Carolina? Well, that’s exactly the plan for Jarrett and the WVU offense this year.
Even though he’s a senior and is considered to be the starter, Jarrett might have some competition at the quarterback position in the off-season. Four-star high school recruit Geno Smith (6” 3’, 190 lbs) will be arriving this summer from Miramar, Florida, and Pat White’s brother, Coley (redshirt freshman), will be competing for playing time. Yes, you read that correctly…Pat White’s brother.
Returning starters from last year’s offense include running back Noel Divine (junior); senior wide receivers Alric Arnett (most yards receiving) and Wes Lyons will find themselves among an influx of new talent on offense. Most notable of the “new meat” includes 4-star recruit Logan Heastie at wide receiver. Only two starters return on the O-line, however; and star receiver/running back Jock Sanders (junior) won’t be back for a while, either…if at all. See, he got into some trouble with the law a few months ago (DUI) and got himself suspended indefinitely. Yippee.
Defensively, the Mountaineers return most of their regular defensive linemen and welcome back senior middle linebacker Reed Williams (medical redshirt last season). Otherwise, only one linebacker (Mortty Ivy), one cornerback (Ellis Lankster), and one safety need to be replaced, which is in stark contrast to the 2007-08 season when 7 defensive spots needed to be filled.
The out-of-conference schedule won’t be easy this year with games at Auburn and home against Colorado and East Carolina (the only game last year in which WVU didn’t score a touchdown). Big East Home opponents include Connecticut, Louisville, and Pitt; road games include Syracuse, South Florida, Cincinnati, and Rutgers. Say what you want about the Big East, but that’s a road schedule that would give any coach nightmares.
Bonus trivia! This year’s Mountaineer mascot will be Rebecca Durst; the second female Mountaineer in WVU history. Check out the thread entitled “WVU MountainETTES” in the college football discussion forum for Rebecca’s pic and more info.
Marshall, Marshall, Marshall!!! (Huntington, WV): Gone are the days of consecutive Division I-AA playoff runs (National Championships in 1992 and 1996); gone are the days of players like Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich (yes, they all played at Marshall); and gone are the days of Matthew McConaughey. Actually, the past few seasons of Marshall football have resembled those rebuilding years after the 1970 plane crash which claimed most of their players and coaches (5-7, 3-9, 4-8).
Marshall is part of Conference USA which includes teams like Memphis, UTEP, Tulsa, Tulane, Houston, and East Carolina. Even though the conference might not seem that strong, Marshall punishes themselves with a killer out-of-conference schedule. In 2006-07, they played a then #15 Tennessee in Knoxville, Kansas State at home, and #5 WVU team in Morgantown in the annual “Friends of Coal Bowl.” (I didn’t come up with that name). Last year, they played Cincinnati and Miami, FL away and WVU at home. This year, they travel to Virginia Tech and to Morgantown to face the Mountaineers again. Ok, so they lost everyone of those games, but that’s not the point. They take some chances and really try to beef up their schedule. They should be applauded.
Double bonus trivia! Speaking of mascots, Marco the bison won the National Mascot Championship award in 1991. Marco was created in 1954 and was named from a mix of the University’s name at that time, Marshall College. Also, the Thundering Herd would be a correct trivia game answer to BCS college football schools whose mascot’s name does not end in the letter ‘S’.
Glenville State Pioneers (Glenville, WV): In 2008, the Pioneers finished the season 8-3 overall, going 7-1 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC). Those marks were good enough to earn them the 25th spot on the final D2football.com Top 25 Media Poll. Running back Jerry Seymour was also named to the D2football.com All America team after running wild for a total of 2282 yards last year (207.5 yds/game and 7.7 yds/carry)! But alas, 2008 was Seymour's last year, so the Pioneers will have to find someone else to tear up the field.
Triple-dipple bonus trivia! What nationally-known, semi-controversial, left-my-alma-mater-for-the-glory-and-the-money, football personality previously coached at Glenville State? Yep…Rich Rodriguez. (Why else would I write about Glenville State?) From 1990 to 1996, the Pioneers won three consecutive WVIAC championships and even competed for the NAIA championship in 1993. In his first season (1990), he led the team to a 1-7-1 record. In 1991, they improved to 4-5-1 and to 6-4 in 1992. However, in his fourth season as head coach, Rich Rodriguez led Glenville state to a 10-3 record, the WVIAC Championship, and the NAIA runner-up [Glenville State lost to East Central (OK) 49-35]. Sound familiar? All you impatient Michigan fans...just give the man some time. He apparently knows what he's doing; he's just a slow starter.
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