When: 9/4, 6:00pm
Stadium: Mountaineer Field
Last Week: n/a
Returning Starters: 16
Last Week: n/a
Returning Starters: 12
Last Meeting: 2003
OUT OF CONFERENCE WATCH
This may become a recurring item in this space. Each week, the Big East has a few chances to make hay against out of conference foes. These games might be almost as important as conference battles this year, as the Big East fights to overcome the knee-jerk stereotypes being laid upon it by media members who have an original thought about as often as Joe Paterno's pants cuffs touch his shoes.
OK, just kidding on that last one.
OFFENSIVE - IN A GOOD WAY
WVU averaged 43.6 points and 429.7 total yards in its last three regular season games against Pitt, Syracuse and Temple. With eight offensive starters back, the Mountaineers would seem to be ready to continue at that level. However, the shuffling on the offensive line to cover for an out-of-shape Jeremy Hines at center is troubling. Not only does it change the chemistry up front, it also signals a bit of complacency from one of the most talented players in the group. That can't have a good effect on the team.
THOUGHTS OF HOME
Eight members of the team hail from Florida, which is about to get battered for the second time in a month by a major hurricane. This time, it's Frances that will have Dwayne Thompson, Pat Liebig, L. J. Montinar, Freddie Little, Tito Gonzalez, Kay Jay Harris, Jahmile Addae and non-qualifier Marcus Platt keeping at least one eye and ear turned to the south. That's understandable, because home and family come first, but the purely selfish side of me wonders how that might affect their play on the field.
Let me say here and now that I won't be upset in the least if it does.
LEVELLING THE FIELD
WVU is just 1-2 in openers under Rich Rodriguez, despite playing two of those games at home.
Sometimes, you get so close to a subject that you just overlook certain things that should be noteworthy. And I've done just that with the stats of spur Mike Lorello.
While I got all caught up in the 2003 tackle totals of Adam Lehnortt (135) and Scott Gyorko (119), I somehow missed the fact that Lorello had 106, including 13 behind the line of scrimmage. (Lehnortt and Gyorko had 13 and eight, respectively.)
What makes that evey more impressive is that Lorello had just 7 total tackles as a true freshman in 2002. Yikes! Somebody watch this guy, o.k.?
On his first kickoff return of the season, Adam Jones will move past Mike Logan into eighth place on WVU's career kickoff yardage list. That is, unless he decides to run backward. Jones (867 career yards) trails Logan by just two.
GIMME SOME OF THAT
Any watch Utah's offense on Thursday night? That's what WVU's passing game aspires to be. Of course, it helps when defenders can't cover one single guy in the pattern.
Utah turned a bunch of five yard receptions into 15 (and longer) yard gains. Receivers got open and caught the ball in stride - two key factors in making the short passing game work.
The visualization process was also helped by Utah's uniforms, which are the same style as WVU's and the fact that they fielded a big running back wearing #1 and a rangy wide receiver sporting #5.
DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE
Well, maybe not. I admit to watching some pretty esoteric stuff on the field. Like, what kind of shoes WVU is wearing, and which team has the better warmups. What do you watch? Post your items on our message boards