Big 33 Notebook

Six future Mountaineers acquitted themselves well during the 47th Annual Big 33 Football Classic in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night.

While it's unlikely that any of the players in the game will have an immediate, on the field impact during 2004, it's just as clear the the WVU coaching staff nabbed some excellent players in this year's crop of Big 33 participants. First, for the Ohio side:

Ryan Stanchek: Stancheck was a team captain and started at offensive guard. His strength isn't in question at all, but he, like most offensive linemen, has the task of reshaping his body in front of him. Stanchek showed excellent drive blocking ability, and once he locked on to a defender, was tenacious and physical in completing his blocks.

Pernell Williams: Williams was forced to play as a safety, thus depriving Mountaineer fans of seeing him at his natural running back position, where he will begin his career as a Mountaineer. However, his ability to cut and change directions was evident as he covered Pennsylvania wide receivers - he broke up two passes and stayed glued to his man on almost every play.

Chad Mayse: Mayse was listed at 6-3 and 235 pounds, and looked every bit of it in person. The Mentor product was also playing in a different scheme as a linebacker in space, as defenses are forced to use a 5-2 front in the Big 33 game. Mayse will likely begin his career as an inside backer for the Mountaineers, and the good thing to see from WVU's standpoint was his aggressive play, which is vital for the middle man in West Virginia's 3-3 stack defense. Mayse also showed solid pursuit speed, once dragging down Miami-bound Andrew Johnson from behind.

The Pennsylvania side was no less productive, with a pair of linemen and a standout defender on display during the beautiful July evening.

Ben Iannacchione: Big Ben showed the aggressive streak that should make him a fine offensive lineman at WVU. He didn't just block people - he finished blocks by playing "to the echo of the whistle", and had several pancakes where he drove his defender into the ground. The Baldwin standout got onto defenders and never quit, bulldogging and bulldozing his opponent from his right tackle spot.

Doug Slavonic: Several sideline observers commented very favorably on his play at defensive end, with more than one Pitt and Penn State observer asking "How'd we let him get away"? Slavonic is probably 40 pounds away from his optimum college playing weight, but a couple of seasons in the Mountaineer strength and conditioning program is all that stands between him and that goal. Slavonic showed a good burst off the corner (he recorded a sack) and showed great mobility in pursuing plays away from him. He even got several good blocks as a front wall blocker on kickoff returns - a rare spot to see a defensive lineman.

Mortty Ivy: Ivy was the reverse of Williams - he got to play the position that he will man in his first year of college. A star high school quarterback, Ivy was at a safety position for Pennsylvania, and he showed what WVU coaches are excited about on one play in the third quarter when he broke down on an Ohio ball carrier and delivered a huge hit that had the crowd oohing and ahhing. Ivy appears to have gotten a bit bigger since the spring, and has the frame, including a big lower base and broad shoulders, to add even more weight. Whether he ends up at spur, bandit or outside linebacker, Ivy has the size and speed to make him a contender on the WVU defense.

Tyree Suber: Suber, who left camp after injuring a knee in practice, underwent an MRI in Hershey before returning to Philadelphia for more tests. He reportedly has a cartilage tear, which, while a concern, would be much less serious than a ligament problem. Before he was injured, Suber dominated practices from his spot in the middle of the defensive line.


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