Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spring notes

First, WVU plays at St. John's on Saturday and a loss there could drop the Mountaineers to 8th in the conference and on the wrong side of the bubble. A victory could vault WVU up to 5th depending on the outcome of Marquette and Syracuse.

Spring practice is only a week away and the Pittsburgh Tribune's Joe Starkey interviewed Bill Stewart this week. One unsurprising answer:

Q: Have you spoken to Coach Rodriguez since he left?

A: No.
These types of questions will continue to follow the team and Stewart around for the next year. So far Stewart has taken the high road in always complimenting Rodriguez and trying to move the conversation on. Unfortunately for Stewart the conversation usually turns to how Stewart's name has popped up in many spring reviews as a coach either under pressure or a coach that needs to win right away. So far Stewart has been able to, at least publicly, brush off the any concerns relayed to him regarding the subject. So while this may be a "dream job" for Stewart it hasn't come without some P.R. nightmares.

Speaking of spring notes now is the time of year when the columnists break out the lists. Best games for next year, best positions battles, or best white shoes (OS). Foxsports' Pete Fiutak has been working overtime this week. First he lists the best non-conference games in the upcoming year. WVU checks in at numbers 21 (Colorado) and 3 (Auburn).
3. Auburn at West Virginia, Oct. 13
One team has mastered the spread attack, and the other is just starting to figure it out. If Auburn had Pat White, where would it be ranked? As is, West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart gets a shot to come up with a big, big win that would prove his program is among the elite of the elite. This is Auburn's toughest road test by far until ending the year at Alabama.
Just missing the cut; Villanova.

FoxSports also has a list of 25 potential impact players that didn't see the field last year. Julian Miller makes the grade at number 24 for WVU.
24. DE Julian Miller, West Virginia: Johnny Dingle's early departure to the NFL creates some room on the depth chart for young players like Miller, a rangy pass rusher with a great burst off the edge. He stood out throughout practices last fall, now needing to add a little more bulk and improve at disengaging from blockers.
And finally a list of the top quarterback battles entering spring practice. This is not on the list because of a battle between Pat White and Jarrett Brown, but of the battle at the University of Miami.
Redshirt freshman Robert Marve and first-year freshmen Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith are already locking horns, although it's unlikely a starter will be named anytime soon.
Since Cannon isn't in quotations I think it's fair to assume that is the given first name. If Miami could start him, a running back named Colt or jet, a receiver named Catch, and a kicker named Kicky then they could get back to a bowl game.

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