Official West Virginia Mountaineers thread
|08-27-2007, 09:11 AM||Joined Apr 2005 - away - #23|
he avoided that Deion question real nice... and the o line at our high school has always been b00ty... so all i gotta say is good luck to the leading rusher in NFMHS history and i expect big things from him this season...
Last edited by booker20; 08-27-2007 at 09:12 AM..
|08-29-2007, 09:41 AM||Joined Apr 2005 - away - #24|
|08-29-2007, 10:29 AM||Joined Feb 2005 - away - #25|
Bad news for WVU fans....rumor has it that Pryor has all but made up his mind on where he wants to go but is waiting until the AA game to announce. Also, rumor has it he is recruiting for OSU on the low. Lastly, the Wisky game he is coming up to see is going to be the single biggest recruiting weekend for OSU this year.
Good news for WVU fans....there is still time between now and NLOI day and WVU is easily #2 right now.
|08-29-2007, 01:09 PM||Joined Apr 2005 - away - #26|
|09-02-2007, 06:27 PM||Joined Sep 2006 - away - #30|
Two of a Kind
By Christopher Marshall for MSNsportsNET.com
August 22, 2007
Noel Devine & Jock Sanders
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – By now everyone has heard about the remarkable high school football career of Noel Devine, who ran for an astounding 6,842 yards and 93 touchdowns during his career at North Fort Myers (Fla.) High School.
The 5-foot-8-inch, 170-pound speedster starred in the U.S. Army All-American game and was considered by some to be the best high school running back in the country last year. Devine’s YouTube videos are already the stuff of legend. They feature his blazing speed and tremendous cut-back ability, while showing balance that bares a striking resemblance to Barry Sanders.
“Like a lot of great backs he has the ability to make people miss and be able to get through a small space and make positive yards,” Rodriguez said of Devine. “He’s not a big guy but he’s a pretty explosive runner.”
The soft-spoken Devine is leery of the enormous attention he’s received wanting simply to just blend in with the rest of the freshmen. And he doesn’t spend much of his time watching all those highlight videos that others have posted of him on web sites.
“I just try to stay levelheaded,” he said. “I’m just trying to do better things here.”
Devine delayed his college decision a full month after signing day. The extra time gave him the opportunity to clear his head and follow his heart.
“I fell in love with the program,” Devine said. “The nice people, the nice facilities … it was a place I thought I could better myself the most.”
As much as Devine has been talked about, he’s not the only talented freshman runner in Coach Rich Rodriguez’s backfield. Jock Sanders is equally gifted and is competing neck and neck with Devine to grab playing time as Steve Slaton’s backup.
“There are some talented guys,” Rodriguez said. “I think that freshman class is one of the most athletic we’ve signed.”
Sanders didn’t have as many stars as Devine coming out of St. Petersburg Catholic School, but his credentials are almost as impressive. The 5-8, 185-pound multi-purpose athlete had an outstanding high school career in his own right, rushing for 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior and 1,200 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. He earned all-area honors three times while also lettering in basketball.
“He’s a kid in high school who played a little bit of everything,” said Rodriguez. “They’re both little guys – you’d have a hard time seeing them over this podium – but they run hard and they’re learning pretty quickly.”
Sanders’ versatility makes him a valuable commodity in West Virginia’s spread offense. He played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and safety in high school. Like Devine, Sanders is an electrifying runner that makes defenders miss with sharp cuts and excellent stop-and-start moves.
The fact that Sanders can also return kicks and punts gives Rodriguez yet another deadly weapon in his growing arsenal of offensive playmakers.
With both players coming from Florida, Sanders admits that he has heard a lot about his counterpart.
“Everybody was like, ‘You know Devine is going there.’ I just approached it like Devine was going to make me better and I’m going to try to make him better,” Sanders said. “That’s what a team is all about.”
Sanders, who admits the biggest difference for him between high school and college is the speed of the defenses, says that he is embracing the notion of staying under the radar as he competes with Devine.
“I feel a little bit like the underdog but we work together as a team so it’s a good deal,” Sanders said. “Don’t get me wrong, we compete hard against each other every day but we support each other and help each other out.”
Sanders and Devine have fully bought into Rich Rodriguez’s Mountaineer team concept in their battle for playing time. They also realize that both of them will see the field on Sept. 1, regardless of who wins the number two running back job.
“You’ve got to be patient and stay humble,” Devine said.
“We both came in here to work hard,” Sanders said. “The coaches are going to have to make a big decision but regardless of whom the second back is we are both going to play hard. We will both have our opportunities.”
Opportunities that Mountaineer fans hope will be fruitful for both Noel Devine and Jock Sanders in 2007.
|09-02-2007, 06:30 PM||Joined Sep 2006 - away - #31|
After Week 1....
By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
September 2, 2007
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It may not be the Big House, but boisterous Milan Puskar Stadium can provide a pretty good home field advantage, too. West Virginia University senior safety Ryan Mundy realized that yesterday afternoon playing his first game in Morgantown. Mundy spent four years playing at 107,000-seat Michigan Stadium and he believes that atmosphere in Morgantown is very similar.
Steve Slaton and Patrick White accounted for seven of West Virginia's nine touchdowns scored Saturday against Western Michigan.
“It’s pretty much the same because the fans down here are passionate,” Mundy said. “They get loud when they need to and they are quiet when they need to. They were really into the game.
“Michigan holds like 107,000 and down here it’s probably about 60,000 but if you’ve got good fans that is what it really comes down to.”
Mundy is excited about the opportunity of playing more games at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“It was crazy. It was everything that I expected it to be – the atmosphere, the team – everything was almost perfect,” he said. “It was a great experience for me and I’m definitely looking forward to a couple of more games here.”
The first question posed to Ryan Mundy after Saturday’s game was his thoughts on No. 5 Michigan being upset by I-AA Appalachian State.
“I got updates on it before the game and then on the loudspeaker I heard it then,” he said. “I’m a little shocked. I talked to a couple of guys (Friday) night and they said (Appalachian State) was a good team. In the same breath I was focused on what we had to do.”
“Coaches will tell you that anything can happen,” Rich Rodriguez said. “If Michigan can get beat by a I-AA at home it goes to show you that you’ve got to be ready to play every week.”
Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit was impressed with West Virginia’s offensive skill players – particularly Heisman Trophy candidates Patrick White and Steve Slaton who had a hand in seven of the Mountaineers’ nine touchdowns scored on Saturday.
“You’ve got to deal with those two and the problem is there is so much open space if you don’t get into the right spot,” Cubit said. “You start running out of people and that’s what they do to you – they play fast, it’s a hurry up, and we’re not used to that.”
Several times Cubit thought his defense had White and Slaton bottled up for short gains only to see them break free for long runs.
“They’re great players,” he said. “I thought we had White for a sack and then all of the sudden he slips one guy and goes and gets a first down.”
Rich Rodriguez believes White may turn out to be the best to ever play at West Virginia.
“Everybody wants to have that special player,” Rodriguez said. “A guy that will not only make plays when they’re there but more than anything, he will make plays when they’re not there. He missed a couple of touchdown throws and he’ll be the first to tell you. But there were a couple of times when there were guys sitting unblocked in the hole and Pat got out of it. He continues to prove that he’s one of the best football players I think this school has ever had.”
With West Virginia comfortably ahead, Rich Rodriguez was afforded the opportunity of playing several true freshmen including YouTube legend Noel Devine. About two-thirds of the fans remained in the stadium to give Devine a standing ovation when he jogged out onto the field in the fourth quarter and Devine delivered, turning his first screen pass into a 19-yard gain. Devine finished West Virginia’s final drive with an eight-yard touchdown run and had 63 total yards for the game.
“I did what I could for them,” Devine said, “and they did what they could for me. They stuck around and cheered for me. My first game I scored a touchdown so it’s a good start.”
The touching fan support also was recognized by Rodriguez after the game.
“I thought that was really nice,” he said. “What was nice was the fans stayed to the end, sang Country Roads, and watched the young guys. That was really neat and it meant a lot to those young guys. Our fans were terrific today – they really were.”
MILKING THE CLOCK
Western Michigan held a distinct advantage in offensive plays in the first half and Rich Rodriguez believes more teams are going to try and work the clock and keep the football away from his offense.
“That’s why those third-down stops (on defense) are so critical for you,” he said.
Western Michigan finished the game 8 of 19 on third-down conversions but Rodriguez would like to see that number a little lower.
Western Michigan chose to put everyone up on the line of scrimmage to stop Patrick White and Steve Slaton and that allowed White to exploit a very solid Bronco secondary with early touchdown passes to Dorrell Jalloh and Steve Slaton.
“They were committing everybody to the box and we were a little stubborn at times and we should have thrown more passes,” Rodriguez said. “One thing about it is if you do break through the first level versus cover zero it’s going to be a big play.”
NEW MSN POSTGAME SHOW
The Mountaineer Sports Network has introduced a new post-game Internet-only highlights show that will follow each home football game. CSTV All-Access subscribers have the opportunity of getting post-game analysis from Tony Caridi and Dwight Wallace, game highlights, and locker room reaction.
Click HERE for a free preview.
RECORD BOOK UPDATE
They Said It
"Are they as good as advertised? Yeah, they're that. They're that ... They're getting all this publicity. It's for real."
- Western Michigan safety C.J. Wilson on Patrick White and Steve Slaton
Steve Slaton scored four more touchdowns Saturday against Western Michigan (three rushing and one receiving) and now shows 41 career touchdowns to lead all active players in the country. Slaton is now four rushing touchdowns shy of tying Amos Zereoue for third on the school’s all-time list and needs seven to break the record held by Ira Errett Rodgers and Amos Zereoue.
Slaton had his 16th career 100-yard rushing game and is now 19 yards shy of becoming just the third runner in school history to rush for more than 3,000 yards for his career.
Slaton’s 58-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the second-longest TD run of his career. He had a 65-yarder last year against Cincinnati.
Quarterback Patrick White moved past Dan Kendra into seventh place in career total offense with 4,943 yards. His 23 career touchdown passes is now three shy of cracking the WVU all-time Top 10 occupied by Jeff Hostetler and Allen McCune with 26. White is already the school and Big East Conference career rushing leader for quarterbacks with 2,268 career rushing yards.
That figure places him eighth among all WVU career rushers.
|09-04-2007, 11:45 PM||Joined Sep 2006 - away - #36|
By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
September 4, 2007
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – To a man, the players on the West Virginia University football team understand that their trip down to Huntington, W.Va., to play Marshall this Saturday is being viewed down there as much more than just a football game.
Coach Rich Rodriguez is 9-1 in his last 10 regular season road games at West Virginia.
For a good many there it is the culmination of a dream that really began before most of us were even born. The Mountaineers’ last trip to Huntington to play a football game was in 1915 when Woodrow Wilson was in the White House.
A countdown clock on the school’s official athletic web site was not calibrated for the 2007 season opener against Miami – it is still counting down to the Sept. 8 home opener against West Virginia (three days, 13 hours, 56 minutes and six seconds as of this moment). Ninety two years between trips makes this much more than just a football game in Huntington – it’s a crusade.
You can scan old clippings of Huntington sports editorials all the way back to the mid-1950s to read a young Ernie Salvatore imploring both schools to play a football game – anywhere. His talking points then were the same ones he used when the series was finally revived a decade ago when Marshall made the jump to I-A status.
That game in 1997 in Morgantown was memorable as much for the way West Virginia won it in the fourth quarter as it was for the future NFL players on the field – Randy Moss and Chad Pennington for Marshall and Marc Bulger, Jerry Porter, Anthony Becht and Amos Zereoue for West Virginia.
West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez believes in time the WVU-Marshall game will become a rivalry approaching the level of Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland and Louisville.
“I’ve played them once and I think Coach (Don) Nehlen played them once in 27 years,” Rodriguez said. “You can’t place too much into the so-called rivalry when you’ve played twice in 20-some years. Now when you play every year it becomes a rivalry … when you play somebody a lot and there’s a lot at stake the intensity of that makes it a rivalry.
“It’s going to become one I’m sure.”
West Virginia players understand that they will be entering a super-charged environment on Saturday and that is appealing to their competitive nature.
“We love the challenge,” said junior wide receiver Dorrell Jalloh. “We love to go out there and compete and have a test on our hands. Marshall is hyped up and they really want to play us because we’re the No. 3 team in the nation and they will give it all they have. We’re going to give it all we have and it should be a really good game and an exciting one to watch.”
Martinsburg’s Nate Sowers says he was recruited by the Thundering Herd and his three older brothers are Marshall graduates.
“They’re Mountaineer fans now and they cheer for their little brother like they’re supposed to,” Sowers laughed. “They are excited to go back down there and visit the campus and see their little brother play.”
Sowers says he has not had to say a word to West Virginia’s out-of-state players about the meaning of the game. They know all about it.
“They can sense it from the media. It’s Marshall. You can’t explain it. It’s an in-state game and it’s going to be exciting,” he said.
Ryan Mundy, a veteran of the Ohio State-Michigan series -- which also happens to be a fairly super-charged game, says the high emotion usually dissipates after the first snap.
“Once you get your first hit and first snap out of the way it’s basically relying on what you did during the week in practice,” Mundy explained.
The senior has played in some hostile environments before and rates Ohio Stadium as the most difficult venue he’s ever played in, although it wasn’t the loudest.
“The loudest place I played was Oregon. It was amazingly loud,” he said. “It sounds like a jet was right here. You could barely hear the people standing next to you on the sidelines talking because it was so loud.”
Mundy says playing on the road requires focus and paying close attention to detail.
“You just have to block out all the distractions, the hype, the crowd noise, and you just have to focus with your unit – your secondary unit and your defensive unit and you have to make sure that when you step onto the field that your ready and able to get the job done,” he said.
Most of West Virginia’s key players have plenty of experience preparing for loud venues, having played in the Georgia Dome in the 2006 Nokia Sugar Bowl, the Carrier Dome against Syracuse and down at Louisville last year.
“We do some drills with playing music in practice so we’re used to that,” Sowers said. “Most of us have played in big games so I don’t think the noise is going to be a factor. We have ways around that.”
Jalloh explains that most focused athletes don't hear the crowd noise while they are playing anyway.
“What happens when you hit somebody or make a big play it tends to get really quiet which may seem hard to believe,” Jalloh said. “What happens is I go out there and I don’t hear anybody while I’m playing until I go to the sidelines.”
“You hear it but you just get into a zone especially when you’re on the field,” he said. “You’re just in the zone and you’re focusing in on what you’re supposed to do on a particular play.”
Rodriguez, 9-1 in his last 10 regular season road games, will have his Mountaineer team fully prepared for what they will face on Saturday.
“Our guys understand what the Marshall game is. They understood it last year because there was a lot of hype,” he said. “They see the film and they see the players on tape.”
|09-05-2007, 03:20 PM||Joined Apr 2005 - away - #40|