Thursday, October 25, 2007

WVU-Rutgers Q&A

Game eight of the season finds the Mountaineers traveling to Piscataway, NJ for a conference showdown with Rutgers this Saturday at Noon. So I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to a Rutgers blog and get their take on the game and other stuff. Thanks to TBL of the Rutgers blog Beat Visitor for stopping by to answer some questions about the game.

Conventional wisdom got thrown out the window real early with the quick and unexpected demise of Louisville, West Virginia and Rutgers suffering early losses, and USF and Cincinnati shocking the Big East. (Did I forget UConn? Yup!) What has been the biggest shock to you this year in the Big East? Anything you're secretly smiling about?

The biggest shock is the implosion of Louisville. They may have been robbed with the "fair catch" at Connecticut last week, but last year the score wouldn't have been close enough for the dogs from Storrs to take advantage of one gift touchdown (and losing to Syracuse???).
-Maybe it's not so secret, but how can the 2007 antics of the prancing leprechauns of South Bend NOT put a smile on every college football fan's face.

What does it feel like to have your coach come out publicly declare his intention to stay at your school as soon as the rumors start up?

I don't think you can overstate the importance of Schiano's loyalty to Rutgers and vice versa. While the national press had him packing his bags for Thug U last December, I don't think there were any RU fans surprised by his decision to stay. I think it's been clear for awhile that his greatest ambition is to be the Joe Paterno or Knute Rockne of Rutgers and, by extension, the New York metropolitan area. If you're a high school recruit, I think you can have lot of faith that he's not going to pull a Petrino and abandon you for the chance to work with Michael Vick (ooops).

How has Rutgers adjusted to the loss of Brian Leonard and Clark Harris? More one back sets, or just less handing off to the fullback? Do their replacements show you glimpses of the talent that those two had?

Brian Leonard was probably the most special player I've ever seen play and I think you see his influence on Ray Rice's toughness and work ethic; they were like brothers for two years. Neither Corcoran or Beljour are going to replace him, but putting Beljour into the Syracuse and USF games seemed to help the run blocking and pass protection. The running game has also suffered from the injury to Kordell Young; he would've had a lot of carries, and taken a lot of passes out of the backfield. We may still see more of freshman Mason Robinson this year.
The tight end position, which has always been an important one at Rutgers, and especially with Harris, has been invisible this season until Brock's touchdown receptions against Syracuse and USF. It's too soon to say if we're going to see more production from that position.

Tiquan Underwood is having a monster year. He already has more yards (789) and receptions (39) than last years leader, Clark Harris. And Kenny Britt isn't too far behind. How much of the jump in passing yards is Mike Teel's maturation as a quarterback, and how much of that is the play calling? Do you think Schiano is letting Teel loose in situations that he would have held him back in last year?

I think part of Teel's maturation comes from the fact that Brian Leonard is gone. He's now the leader of the team, which is what a quarterback should be. That being said, I don't think he's as good a passer as his predecessor, Ryan Hart, but he has better receivers. Britt and Underwood have both caught a lot of overthrown balls this year, and Underwood's yards after the catch are helping Mike's numbers.

The defense is ranked 17th in total defense in the country this year as opposed to last years squad that finished fourth. That certainly isn't a big drop off, but how do you compare the two? Anyone you wish you had back for one more year?

I think in the last two games -- especially the 2nd half of the USF game -- you've seen that 2006 defense rearing its head again. Freshman Joe Lefeged has been a great surprise, though Ron Girault's injury has hurt us. From last season, I would've loved to see Ramel Meekins come back to wear scarlet for one more year.

Favorite memory from this series, and worst memory?

There are so many bad memories from this series I wouldn't know where to start, but losing the close games hurts more than losing the blowouts.

Does the winner of this game go on to win the Big East?

If RU wins they definitely continue and win the Big East, because Cincy already has two losses. If the Mountaineers win, they need a little help; someone else needs to beat the Bulls.

Did you see Jim Leavitt's lips when he was getting mad last week?

No, I couldn't see Leavitt's lips from section 123. Did he seem unhappy?

Pitt wins and Dave Wannstedt not on the sidelines, coincidence?

I just hope the Wannstache's ankle is better when they visit Rutgers in November. I'll send him a get well card.

Big East coach of the year?

It's Leavitt if they finish with ten wins.

Big East coach on the hottest hot seat?

Robinson should be done in Syracuse. Ask any Orange fan. If they want to inspire the team, they'll fire him BEFORE the season ends.

Game prediction?

38-24 Knights, because no top-ten team can win in R House (not even the Knights when they were ranked #10 against the Terps).

Thanks again to TBL for stopping by to chat with us.


Beat Visitor said...

Thanks for the invitation.
I can't wait until Saturday.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Well done Johnny. I suppose I can overlook your fraternization with the enemy. I could not bring myself to do this had he been a Hokie/Herd/Panther- but the Scarlet Knights have earned some positive media exposure. I am glad the Bastard Sons could do that. Thanks to this post a few more people in the Mountain State know a few more names more common Jersey. Thanks beat. Fuck Rutgers.

Brave Sir Robin said...

** more common TO/IN Jersey.

If you could only edit comments...

Anonymous said...


Johnny said...

BSR, can you think of a better time to interview a Hokie/Herd/Panther fan?


Johnny: Your team really sucks this year. Any chance your going to do away with football?

H/H/P: Who would you laugh at if we did that?

Anon, we might care about your team, but your cheer doesn't impress or interest us. M'kay?

letsplaytummysticks said...

That was a cheer? I thought it was a monkey banging away on a keyboard.

wolf said...

A monkey dressed in red with that gay Knight helmet on giving Option Spread the finger..

Beat Visitor said...

Man, was I wrong!

Maybe you shouldn't ask me for my football "expertise" in the future. I was disappointed that the students couldn't even fill their new section in the endzone because of a little driving rain. Was noon too early for them to wake up and make some noise?

If you don't get to the National Championship game, have fun kicking Boston College's ass in the Orange Bowl!