Bits and Bytes - UTC

As the Mountaineers prepare to open the season, we clean up the odds and ends in our final pregame notes.

THE PAYOFF

Saturday is the day that the long offseason of conditioning and drilling culminates in the payoff for the majority of college football teams. The sweat, pain and sacrifice that these athletes bear should never be underestimated.

The players' reward, of course, is success on the field. So how do teams that don't get that reward handle it?

That was one of the biggest problems with last year's team. After the well-chronicled coaching transition, the team went off to Boston and got whacked. No "reward" for the rough road they traveled was found in Beantown.

That's why I like this opener with UTC, even though there's been some criticism over scheduling a 1AA opponent. Let's get a little success going, or "get our schwerve on" in the words of ESPN's Stuart Scott. (I knew I couldn't pull that off, but I thought I'd try it. )

CROSSING THE LINE

One of the most interesting sideline observations in this week's game is: "Who will play?"

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Game Info
WVU 0-0, 0-0
UTC 0-0, 0-0
Sat. 8/31 6:00 p.m.
Moutaineer Field
Series: First Meeting
TV: None
BCS: WVU- UTC- na
Line: No Line
Will juco defensive end Fred Blueford get time at defensive end, or will the staff try to hold him out in order to break up the distribution of defensive linemen in their graduating classes?

Will freshman Craig Wilson take his place as the spot player along the DLine?

Will linebacker Kevin McLee get his feet wet at middle linebacker, or will Adam Lehnortt and Ben Collins lock up the job and allow McLee to be redshirted?

Since you have all day Saturday to wait for the real game, why not set up a pool and pick the player you think will break his redshirt first? Make your own rules, but you probably shouldn't be allowed to pick Mike Lorello or Adam Jones, as both of those defensive backs are slated for action.

UPWARD PROGRESSION

WVU has played a twelve game regular season just three times in school history. In 1896, WVU was 3-7-2 against a 12-game schedule. In 1980, the Mountaineers were 6-6, while in 1994 the Mountaineers went 7-5 and earned a bowl trip.

It would be nice if the trend of a better record in each 12 game season would continue - I'd take 8-4 and a bowl game in a heartbeat.

JUST WONDERING

After watching BYU shred Syracuse's defense last night, I was left with the vision of what WVU's offense could be. While Rasheed Marshall may not be the pinpoint passer that BYU's Bret Engemann is, he is a far more capable runner.

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The Cuse's defense looked tired, confused and disorganized, and missed tackle after tackle. I'm not saying that West Virginia is going to roll over the Orangemen, but after watching that lackluster performance, there has to be hope for a Mountaineer win on October 19th.

Of course, it would be helpful if Syracuse contributed to our effort by dropping wide open touchdown passes and resorting to coverages that leave the deep middle of the field without a defender.


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