Scoop and Score (4/17/2014) : With Guest Dave Bartoo

Mike Casazza has been covering WVU athletics for 11 years. It only feels like 111.

Born in Hamilton, Ohio, and the victim of an earthquake the day he was baptized, he more or less grew up in Manassas, Va., where he attended Osbourn High. It is the same school Brandon Hogan led to its first state championship in 2006 and later gave WVU soccer flashy midfielder Travis Pittman. Mike would like to take some credit — and he has tried — but to no avail.

via Scoop and Score (4/17/2014) : With Guest Dave Bartoo.

The Charleston Gazette | Full-contact practices a hit with Holgorsen, QBs

If Dana Holgorsen found out nothing else about the three quarterbacks he had available during spring practices, it was how they performed under live conditions.

Truth is, he probably didn’t find out a whole lot more.

He already knew what one of the three, senior Paul Millard, could do after watching him for three years.

Skyler Howard, the junior college transfer, spent most of the spring simply learning what to do more so than showing what he could do.

And the same is pretty much true for walk-on Logan Moore who, while he’s been in the program going on two years, has mainly run other teams’ offenses with the scout team or dabbled at receiver.

via The Charleston Gazette | Full-contact practices a hit with Holgorsen, QBs.

Means Throws Eight Shutout Innings in Win at OU – WVU Athletics

Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

"There is no way to draw it up any better than that. Means went deep into the game, his pitch count was low and he got outs early in the count," coach Randy Mazey says. "Ross (Vance) gave us a spark on Tuesday. Now that they know Sean (Carley) is at the end of the bullpen, I told a lot of people that it is going to take some pressure off our offense to try so hard to perform. We played a lot looser tonight and offensively we made things happen."

The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

via Means Throws Eight Shutout Innings in Win at OU – WVU Athletics.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Information

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will open the 2014 college football season with not one, but two marquee games in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

The first game will feature Ole Miss versus Boise State on Thursday, Aug. 28. The opening game will kick off at 8:00 p.m. EST and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

The second game will pit projected pre-season top-5-ranked Alabama against West Virginia on Saturday, Aug. 30. The Crimson Tide vs. the Mountaineers will kick off at 3:30 p.m. EST and will be televised nationally on ABC and ESPN2.

Both games represent the first-ever meeting between the teams.

via Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Information – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WVU Adds Tarik Phillip to 2014 Class

West Virginia has added one more piece to its basketball team with the signing of Tarik Phillip for the 2014-15 academic year.

Head coach Bob Huggins announced that Phillip, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., has signed a national letter of intent to play for the Mountaineers starting this upcoming season.

Phillip currently attends Independence Community College and come to WVU with three years of eligibility remaining.

"We are excited to be able to land a guard as talented as Tarik in the late signing period," Huggins said in a release from the University. "Every coach we talked to labeled Tarik as a winner. He gives us much-needed versatility in the backcourt with the ability to play both guard positions. We look for him to be very instrumental in our quest to become a great defensive team again."

via WVU Adds Tarik Phillip to 2014 Class – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Linebackers: Will they be nasty or negligible?

Today continues a position-by-position examination of where the West Virginia football team stands after spring practice.

The eight-day video series runs through the two-deep as we look four months ahead to the Mountaineers’ 2014 opener against Alabama and Year 3 in the Big 12 Conference.

via WV MetroNews – Linebackers: Will they be nasty or negligible?.

Consistency crucial for WVU moving forward – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports

West Virginia’s 2013 season was a failure for many reasons. One of the biggest among those was the constant turnaround at the quarterback position.

With spring practice behind them, head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers are in a similar position to that of their 4-8 campaign in 2013.

The offense showed some signs of life during the Gold-Blue Spring game, albeit mostly against the second team defense, but for the unit to improve and stand a chance against Alabama in the season opener, someone has to step up and take the starting quarterback job.

via Consistency crucial for WVU moving forward – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports.

WVU defense improves significantly over two years – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports

In the 2012 season, the West Virginia Mountaineers allowed 131 more points than any other WVU football team in a single season in school history.

The majority of the problems seemed to stem from within the defensive secondary. On three separate occasions during the 2012 season, an opposing team threw for more than  500 yards. The only three times in West Virginia history that has ever happened. Two of those opposing quarterbacks threw six touchdowns each – another Mountaineers’ opponent record.

Collectively, WVU’s opponents threw for 4,078 yards and 38 touchdowns compared to just 10 interceptions in 2012. For a little perspective, Heisman winner Jameis Winston threw for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 picks in the 2013 season.

via WVU defense improves significantly over two years – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU football: Garrison finds his way with strong spring

Dustin Garrison had 19 yards rushing last season. He had four carries go at least that long when he ran for 291 yards against Bowling Green in 2011.

In the parlance of college football, that was a lifetime ago. That was a torn ACL, a bum hamstring and two lost seasons ago — and technically, one of those seasons never happened. Forced to play in 2012 and hobbled by the hamstring to the point he took a medical redshirt last season, Garrison is back, seemingly better than ever and very much in the thick of the crowded competition at running back.

“He had a great spring,” running backs coach JaJuan Seider said after Saturday’s Gold-Blue Game. “He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He went out and competed his butt off every day.

“Dustin’s a guy who’s been counted out his whole life, but the only thing he ever does is find a way.”

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU football: Garrison finds his way with strong spring.

The Charleston Gazette | New rule should help solve WVU QB question

To imagine that college football coaches don’t have enough contact with their players seems rather ludicrous in many ways. The sport has essentially become a year-round exercise that borders more on a full-time job than a diversion, perhaps no better example being the attempt of Northwestern’s players to unionize.

There has always been, however, a rather odd hole in that contact. During June and July, perhaps the most critical period of what passes as the sport’s offseason, coaches have never been permitted contact with their players. They could suggest that the players show up for conditioning — a suggestion that was a de facto demand if they hoped to have any chance of success once practice began in August — but weren’t allowed any contact beyond passing each other in the hallways.

Well, that hole has now been filled. Beginning this summer, football rules will more closely mirror those of men’s and women’s basketball. Coaches are not only allowed to make strength and conditioning mandatory for as much as eight hours a week, they can also use two of those eight hours for film study with the players.

via The Charleston Gazette | New rule should help solve WVU QB question.

Watch Around the Horn With Randy Mazey – WVU Athletics

It's once again time to go Around the Horn, with Mountaineer baseball coach Randy Mazey and Jeff Culhane. Presented by Coca-Cola.

via Watch Around the Horn With Randy Mazey – WVU Athletics.

Harlee Named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year – WVU Athletics

The Big 12 Conference announces its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.

Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

A Bel Air, Md., native, Harlee maintains a 3.93 GPA in industrial engineering and is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team member. She was a 2013 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award recipient and was, most recently, chosen as WVU’s Student Organization Services’ Kenneth D. Gray Student Leadership Award honoree.

via Harlee Named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year – WVU Athletics.

VIDEO INTERVIEWS: Vance Strikes Out 14 in Win Against Ohio State

In his first career start for the WVU baseball team, sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out 14 en route to a 4-1 victory over Ohio State on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

Vance (1-0) pitched a complete game, allowing one run on eight hits with two walks. His 13 strikeouts was a career high and set a season high for Mountaineer pitchers. He also picked off two runners

The win breaks a seven game losing streak by West Virginia and brings the Mountaineer's overall record to 17-15.

Ohio State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Vance hit a batter with the bases loaded, but the Mountaineers answered in the bottom half to take a 2-1 lead. Junior designated Max Nogay hit his third home run of the season over the left field fence. The blast plated senior first baseman Ryan McBroom, who led off the inning with a line drive double off the left field wall.

via VIDEO INTERVIEWS: Vance Strikes Out 14 in Win Against Ohio State – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Defensive line: Can no-name group hold the front?

Today launches a position-by-position examination of where the West Virginia football team stands after spring practice.

The eight-day video series runs through the two-deep—and even the four-deep in the case of that persistent quarterbacks quandary—as we look four months ahead to the Mountaineers’ 2014 opener against Alabama and Year 3 in the Big 12 Conference.

via WV MetroNews – Defensive line: Can no-name group hold the front?.

WV MetroNews – Surprised Bussie ‘just started crying’ when Lynx drafted her at No. 15

Asya Bussie’s agent advised her she could last into the third round of the WNBA draft, so the West Virginia center was pleasantly blind-sided when the Minnesota Lynx drafted her 15th overall with the third pick of the second round.

“The whole day I was a wreck, trying to figure out if I was going to be drafted,” Bussie said in joining the MetroNews “Sportsline” crew Tuesday night. “I didn’t think I would be nervous, but I was. I just watched the draft with some friends, and waited for my named to be called. Once I saw it was called I just started crying.”

She received no forewarning from the Lynx, no phone call ahead of her draft slot. Instead, Bussie learned her destination along with others following the draft.

“It was a shock,” she said.

via WV MetroNews – Surprised Bussie ‘just started crying’ when Lynx drafted her at No. 15.

WV MetroNews – Stopped cold: Surprising sophomore ends WVU’s losing streak with 14 Ks

The left-hander from central Texas hadn’t pitched in snow, and judging from his 7.50 ERA, Vance Ross hadn’t pitched effectively in any weather this season.

But once the West Virginia sophomore started mowing down Ohio State hitters on Tuesday night, the sub-freezing windchill wasn’t noticeable.

Making his first WVU start, Ross struck out 14 batters—a staff-high this season—during a 4-1 complete-game eight-hitter that ended the Mountaineers’ seven-game slide and left coach Randy Mazey stunned.

“Who knew he could do that?” Mazey said. “Fourteen strikeouts against Ohio State? That’s unbelievable.

via WV MetroNews – Stopped cold: Surprising sophomore ends WVU’s losing streak with 14 Ks.

First team defense impressed Saturday – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports

Even without causing a turnover in Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game, the first team defense looked very solid overall.

Whether that is due to experience or the addition of Tom Bradley, the defense looked aggressive and got to the ball in a fast manner. WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said he was impressed with what he saw.

via First team defense impressed Saturday – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports.

Vance strikes out 14 in first start for West Virginia – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports

Who would have known a junior college transfer student could pick up a team on a damp, snowy Morgantown evening after seven straight losses? Who could have envisioned his first career start would end in a complete game, 14 strikeout performance that earned him his first collegiate victory? Ross Vance did.

“I sat up all night last night thinking about (starting),” Vance said. “I was just getting ready and getting ready to get the job done today, and I think I did that tonight.”

Vance, a sophomore from McKinney, Texas, had pitched just six innings in 2014 before getting the starting nod Tuesday night against Ohio State. The lefty was outstanding, pitching all nine innings, giving up just one run on 145 pitches in a 4-1 WVU victory.

via Vance strikes out 14 in first start for West Virginia – The Daily Athenaeum Online: Sports.

The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: College free agents and autograph questions

Cleaning out a crowded notebook and a cluttered mind while waiting for it to snow. Again.

n Last month when Eron Harris announced that he was transferring out of West Virginia’s basketball program, the news was greeted with shock in some quarters. I’ll admit it took me a bit by surprise, too, even though in retrospect you could see some of the handwriting on the wall. As the season wore on, Harris just didn’t seem like the happiest of campers.

You want to know what the most surprising thing is, though? It’s that Harris is WVU’s only outgoing transfer, or at least so far. Don’t think for a minute that there isn’t still time to hit the road.

via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: College free agents and autograph questions.

Spring Football Observations – WVU Athletics

I have been around long enough to know that you don’t get a whole lot out of spring football games – or many of the spring football practices, for that matter.

So whatever you are reading about how great this guy looked or how bad that guy looked I would ingest with caution.

I’ve seen too many times when those spring-game stars never quite materialized in the fall, and other times when the guys who looked very average in the spring ended up being outstanding players when the games count.

Pat White certainly falls into that category.

via Spring Football Observations – WVU Athletics.