Jimbo: And I'm Jimbo.
Duke: The Mountaineers looked human this past Saturday against East Carolina. There was a feeling that hung in the air like a heavy fog that WVU was just one play away from being in a real dogfight. You had the sense that ECU was starting think about things they shouldn't think about – like knocking off the #4 West Virginia University Mountaineers.
Jimbo, I'm concerned about this game, as it appeared that West Virginia was giving full effort, yet just couldn't put this team away. Does this game concern you?
Jimbo: I heard that garbage from the stadium all the way back to the car - from numerous fans. It was a 17-point victory! What do you want? I'm telling you that this was a great win. We just can't be the "greatest show on turf" every game. In a 12 game season we are going to have to grind out some victories. This game and the other upcoming road games will really benefit us, as they will build character and prepare us for the Louisville game, which will be a true test. Every great team needs to overcome adversity in order to go to the next level. I really thought that Skip Holtz had scouted us well and their crowd was into the game.
Duke: It was apparent that ECU had scouted us well. Steve Slaton found the going difficult Saturday, as the ECU defense seemed to have 4-5 guys waiting on every carry. Jimbo, running outside is very addictive, especially when you get results similar to the Maryland game, but a team or player can fall into a trap. I am not sure if running outside was by design or simply Steve reading the defense and bouncing outside, but we need to be more committed to running the ball between the tackles and not be so quick to bounce it outside.
Jimbo: I'm not buying that. I think ECU had things plugged up the middle. Even Pat White had a difficult time finding room up the middle. Pat, however, was able to overcome the stingy run defense with a solid passing day as he completed 17 passes for 216 yards. I wasn't really concerned with his picks, as one was essentially a punt while the other was a Hail Mary situation. Duke, you are right about one thing from last week, Darius Reynard does belong in the White and Slaton conversation. His touchdown really cooled the ECU charge! Many are starting to recognize his talents, but if he keeps playing big the national media will also begin to recognize him as a playmaker.
Duke: We are always talking about the offense, but the defense played a very solid game. I mentioned to you during the game that Eric Wicks had been pretty quiet, and on the very next play he stays home on a counter and makes a great stop. We are beginning to see the emergence of Reed Williams at linebacker, too. He made a couple great stops and batted down a key pass.
Duke: Let's open some mail from our fans. Trivia Boy, grab a question from the Mail Bag.
Trivia Boy: Duke and Jimbo what player has been the biggest surprise so far this year?
Jimbo: Quinton Andrews has really surprised me. It seems like we always hear about this next great freshman that is playing huge and he'll crack the starting lineup and when the season starts they are nowhere to be found. Quinton has lived up to the reports and is playing like a veteran.
Duke: I had misidentified James Ingram early in the season as two players wore #95, but James has seen considerable playing time and has now has started a game. With our depth and experience on the line, I am very surprised to see this young guy break through. As he spends more time with Michael Barwis this guy could be special! Duke: Trivia Boy what else do you have today?
Trivia Boy: All right guys, when is the last time West Virginia played a SEC team in the regular season?
Duke: Now for the Big Finish!
Duke: Our prayers go out to the Duquesne University basketball players who were wounded last week during a campus shooting incident. That is a great college community, and we send our best wishes for a speedy recovery for all involved.
Jimbo: Good call, Duke. That was shocking. I recall you telling me on several occasions while you were going to law school there how safe the campus was and how you enjoyed your time there.
Coach Rodriguez and West Virginia received some real nice press this past week as ESPN's Chris Mortensen and John Clayton both reported that the Atlanta Falcons had contacted both Texas and West Virginia to inquire about spread offense concepts in order to take advantage of Michael Vick's abilities, but Charley Casserly (yes, the same Casserly that took Mario Williams over Reggie Bush) reported on CBS Sunday that the Falcons primarily discussed the concepts with West Virginia. What is the adage, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?"
Duke: The weekend ended in super fashion as the Cincinnati Bengals went into the Steel City and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mountaineer Chris Henry played big in the victory with five catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He is a huge part of the Bengal attack. Chris, however, brushed trouble again this weekend when he was in a car being piloted by a driver that was accused of DUI. I just hope his legal issues don't pull him from the field.
Jimbo: Trivia Boy, the team is South Carolina in 1991, I believe. WVU played a three game series from 1989-91, winning the two games in Morgantown while dropping the lone contest in Columbia. For West Virginia now, however, the team of concern is Mississippi State. So let's load the wagons, head for Starkville and go 1-0 one more time!