More Hits For WVU Program

As if there weren't enough controversy and challenge facing West Virginia's football program, it was confirmed today that three players will be ineligible for Tuesday's Champs Sports Bowl.

Starting center Joe Madsen, along with key defensive reserves Josh Taylor and Eain Smith, will not travel with the team or play in the game, according to a one-sentence release issued by the WVU sports information department today. The team departed for Orlando, Fla., this morning.

The losses will be keenly felt. Madsen, West Virginia's best and most consistent lineman, is an absence that won't be easily overcome. WVU will likely fill that gap by sliding guard Eric Jobe over to center, with backup Cole Bowers taking Jobe's place at guard.

Defensively, Taylor was a solid backup who provided breaks for all-league nose tackle Chris Neild. Neild, who missed all but one snap of the Rutgers game due to a hamstring injury, will likely be counted on for more duty, if his health allows, against the Wolfpack. Defensive lineman Jorge Wright may also be called upon for more snaps at the position.

In the defensive secondary, Smith was an integral part of West Virginia's long-yardage pass defense packages, and his absence will also require more adjustments for defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel.

Joe Madsen

Josh Taylor

Eain Smith

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