Charleston Daily Mail | Chuck McGill: WVU smart to let Joseph play his style, but limit wear and tear

Karl Joseph is a bandit now, and he’s not going to keep his hits holstered.

The 6-foot-1, 196-pound junior football player at West Virginia University is the team’s hardest, most devastating hitter. Throw his name in the YouTube search bar and look at the highlights from his first two collegiate seasons.

“He’s a train wreck, man,” WVU safeties coach Joe DeForest said of Joseph. “If it’s moving, he’s going to hit it … and he’s going to hit it hard.”

Obviously, Joseph seeks out the collisions, but that is only one concern as he transitions to a more physically demanding position. Joseph simply refuses to leave the field. He might just miss out on one of those bone-jarring, fumble-causing, pain-inducing hits.

“I try to play as much as I can, even through the nicks and bruises,” Joseph said. “I try to be tough and stick it out.”

via Charleston Daily Mail | Chuck McGill: WVU smart to let Joseph play his style, but limit wear and tear.

The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers put focus on finishing

Last season, West Virginia’s football team held a lead in 10 of its 12 games.

The Mountaineers held fourth-quarter advantages in seven of those 12 games and were within one possession — six points once, two another — going into the fourth quarter of two others.

Even discounting a complete and inexplicable flop at Kansas, in which WVU was never in contention during an otherwise easily winnable game, that’s nine of 12 games in which it seemed Dana Holgorsen’s team had not only a CHANCE TO WIN, but a great chance.

And yet the Mountaineers won just four of them.

Suffice it to say, finishing what it starts is being talked about a lot as West Virginia heads into a 2014 season that begins in eight days in Atlanta against No. 2 Alabama. Among the myriad slogans that appear on wristbands, hats and locker ROOM WALLS in every college football program, the ones that probably get to the point most efficiently at West Virginia are the T-shirts that say just that.

“FINISH.”

via The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers put focus on finishing.

Mountaineer Insider Podcast – WVU Athletics

This week's inside look at Mountaineer sports includes an exclusive interviews with WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck, KJ Dillon, Alabama beat writer Aaron Suttles from the Tuscaloosa News and special commentary from Jeff Culhane. You can also DOWNLOAD today's podcast on iTunes.

via Mountaineer Insider Podcast – WVU Athletics.

New Ballpark Construction Update – WVU Athletics

If you have been to the site of the new WVU baseball ballpark recently, you noticed how quickly it has taken shape.

Following the completion of concrete footers in the concourse area, construction crews have begun to insert steel supports for the press box and suite levels.

The initial phases of construction for the Mountaineers clubhouse and office areas are underway along the right field line. The bottom floor of that structure will be cement, while the second floor will feature steel supports.

In front of the steel frame is where the foundation will be laid for the dugouts and the backstop.

via New Ballpark Construction Update – WVU Athletics.

WVU Women’s Soccer Setting Gold Standard in Mountaineer Athletic – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports

Division-I collegiate athletic departments are judged solely by the success of each and every PROGRAM within its respective institution. Football and men's basketball may dominate the headlines and revenue, but believe or not, all of the other sports do matter.

West Virginia University is just like any other D-I PROGRAM in America. Football and men's basketball reign supreme in Morgantown.

But throughout the last decade and a half, a pair of athletic programs has continued to consistently perform at a higher level than any other at WVU: Women's Soccer and Rifle.

via WVU Women’s Soccer Setting Gold Standard in Mountaineer Athletic – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Angus expects to enroll Friday, gives WVU 18 of 21 signees aboard

Philadelphia lineman Dontae Angus, a signing day surprise for West Virginia last February, has received NCAA clearance and is expected to be in classes Friday, said a PROGRAM spokesman.

The arrival of the 6-foot-6, 330-pound Angus means 18 of 21 signees are now on campus. The exceptions are receiver Jacob McCrary (who enrolled this week at Northwest Mississippi COMMUNITY COLLEGE) offensive lineman Justin Scott (who has yet to complete junior college coursework) and linebacker Davonte James (who left the program after spring semester).

“Angus continues the trend of WVU commitments that fit the mold for playing nasty,” said Rivals writer Keenan Cummings of WVSports.com. “He is just a monster rolled inside of a NFL-sized left tackle. And he has the athleticism to play defensive line as well.

via WV MetroNews – Angus expects to enroll Friday, gives WVU 18 of 21 signees aboard.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Assistant coach Bradley gets comfortable in new role

On the outside, Tom Bradley looked lost. He was trying to find his way around the Puskar Center, his new football home at West Virginia UNIVERSITY after 37 seasons at Penn State and then two years in the media.

He was wandering without DIRECTION until he’d stop to ask someone for some help.

Even that didn’t work.

“I was always going the wrong way,” Bradley said.

On the inside, though, the longtime assistant coach for the Nittany Lions and now the senior associate head coach with the Mountaineers was relieved. He knew he was being welcomed into a new football family.

“The players were playing games with me and sending me the wrong way,” he said. “Now I’m onto them and what they’re doing.”

Fake help was still help because this has not been easy for Bradley, and won’t pretend it didn’t challenge his emotions or test what he’d come to know in his COLLEGEfootball life spent exclusively at Penn State.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Assistant coach Bradley gets comfortable in new role.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU’s Holgorsen keeps Alabama’s strength in perspective

From Tony Gibson’s vantage point, preparing for Alabama in 10 more days presents all sorts of challenges, not the least of which is simply figuring out what THE TIDE offense will look like.

“Yeah, a lot of it is guesswork,’’ West Virginia’s defensive COORDINATOR said of a team with a new (and as yet unknown) quarterback, a new offensive COORDINATOR (Lane Kiffin) and perhaps a mindset to shake things up a bit. “We have to be prepared for a lot of different scenarios.’’

For Shannon Dawson, the X’s and O’s probably aren’t that mystifying, but the challenge is no less daunting.

“It’s not like they’re going to throw a bunch of stuff at us that we’ve never seen,’’ WVU’s offensive coordinator said. “You just have to make plays against them and that’s hard because everything they do, they do well.’’

And then there’s Dana Holgorsen. It’s his job to be the voice of reason and, yes, even optimism. And that means putting Alabama in perspective.

“Don’t forget,’’ the Mountaineer’ fourth-year head coach said, “we play a lot of good teams in the Big 12.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU’s Holgorsen keeps Alabama’s strength in perspective.

The Charleston Gazette | Mitch Vingle: WVU, TCU might be Big 12 surprises

When I CHECKED out the Big 12 preseason poll, something tugged at me.

I didn’t know what until Tuesday.

That’s when I really took time to break down the league’s upcoming season.

I saw teams that are overrated. I saw teams that are underrated. And the latter category just might include West Virginia.

Here’s my simple theory: (Follow closely.) Better teams have better players. And the best teams have the most experienced upper-tier players. (Did I lose you?)

I researched which upperclassmen on Big 12 teams were considered among THE TOP 20 nationally at their position in the eyes of NFL scouts. (NFL DRAFT Scout was most helpful.)

I added the number of 2015 and 2016 prospects together to reach a total.

via The Charleston Gazette | Mitch Vingle: WVU, TCU might be Big 12 surprises.

Key Position Battles Present Big Decisions for WVU Coaching Staff

This is the time of the year where COLLEGE football coaching staffs across the country are feeling the pressure to make key decisions that will ultimately impact the direction of the program.

Dana Holgorsen and the West Virginia Mountaineers are no different. Thus far, Holgorsen has been COMPLETELY honest with the media in terms of the important battles that are ongoing with each position on the team.

Now less than two weeks away from the season OPENER against Alabama, Holgorsen appears to have a handful of decisions to make – decisions that will help decide which players will earn the STARTING nod on August 30 in Atlanta.

Safety, cornerback, linebacker, defensive line, wide receiver and running back – Six POSITIONS REMAIN up for grabs as of Tuesday, August 19.

via Key Position Battles Present Big Decisions for WVU Coaching Staf – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Hurting no more, Chestnut hopes to turn corner on injury-riddled career

For illustration of Terrell Chestnut’s never-back-down philosophy, rewind to his sophomore season at Pottsgrove HIGH SCHOOL, to a teammate’s interception, and to the runback that ensued.

“I was being dumb,” Chestnut recalled. “I felt like I was big and bad, so I went to block the biggest lineman and he ran me over.”

That’s when Chestnut believes he initially weakened his shoulder, the one he finally dislocated as A SENIOR resulting in a torn labrum. The same labrum he tore again during his freshman camp at West Virginia, leading to a redshirt season.

It wasn’t the last or the worst of Chestnut’s injuries. That distinction occurred in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl—a spiritless night for the WVU football program and a debilitating one for the cornerback whose third career start ended in the first quarter with a torn ACL.

via WV MetroNews – Hurting no more, Chestnut hopes to turn corner on injury-riddled career.

The Charleston Gazette | Questions loom as WVU camp ends

West Virginia finished 17 days of preseason camp Saturday with a depth chart beginning to take a more concrete shape, but still with plenty of unanswered questions about every facet of its team — offense, defense and specialists.

In truth, Saturday’s camp-ending scrimmage perhaps raised more questions than it answered. For instance:

n The No. 1 defense bent but didn’t break. But that bending was a concern.

“They buckled down in the red zone,’’ first-year defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “That was good to see, but we’re certainly not there yet.’’

n The first-team offense moved the ball well at times, but couldn’t score. In five possessions during a 50-minute period of the scrimmage open to the media, the No. 1 offense had five positions from a variety of field positions and couldn’t score. Twice the offense either ran out of downs or time, once quarterback Clint Trickett was intercepted by K.J. Dillon and two drives ended with field goal attempts.

Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson didn’t seem particularly concerned, however.

via The Charleston Gazette | Questions loom as WVU camp ends.

The Charleston Gazette | Mitch Vingle: WVU coaches making DL moves in search of pass rush

If you want to know what WVU’s defense most needs to improve on this season, insert Jon Gruden voice here for effect.

It needs a pass rush, man.

It’s nothing new. Not since 2011, when the Mountaineers finished 29th nationally, averaging 2.31 sacks per game, has the team had a respectable pass rush.

West Virginia’s change in conferences didn’t help in that respect. But since that 10-3 2011 season, WVU has fallen to 75th nationally in sacks in 2012 and 107th last season. The records, as fans know all too well, have fallen as well.

This year, Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen seems to like his defensive depth, which includes that of the line. Yet it bears watching to see if that line can give WVU — and, by extension, its fans — a rush.

As recently as Friday, nose tackle Kyle Rose was anything but encouraged by his side of the ball.

via The Charleston Gazette | Mitch Vingle: WVU coaches making DL moves in search of pass rush.

Mountaineers Conclude Camp – WVU Athletics

West Virginia concluded preseason camp with an officiated scrimmage inside Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Media members were allowed to observe the final hour of the scrimmage from the club area underneath the video board, but were not permitted to tweet or post a live account of the action.

Overall, both offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson saw what they needed to see as they begin preparation for the season opener against second-ranked Alabama two weeks from today in Atlanta.

“The main focus today was trying to figure out who the number twos were,” noted Dawson.

via Mountaineers Conclude Camp – WVU Athletics.

Assistant Coaches Press Conference – WVU Athletics

Select members of the West Virginia University football coaching staff met with the media on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, at the Milan Puskar Center Team Room.

via Assistant Coaches Press Conference – WVU Athletics.

WATCH: The Dana Holgorsen Show

In case you missed it on television, be sure to watch this week's episode of The Dana Holgorsen Show, in its entirety, on WVi.

via WATCH: The Dana Holgorsen Show – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – First-team defense rules day in WVU’s final scrimmage

Even after West Virginia’s first-team defense refused to yield a touchdown during Saturday’s game-like scrimmage, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson called poor tackling “my biggest fear.”

His worries stemmed from a live-situation drill Friday in which Gibson said the defense missed 22 tackles.

“It’s being out of control,” he said. “The biggest mistake we saw (Friday) on film were guys with their head down, running full-speed, and reaching—and that’s not how we teach tackling. You’ve got to see what you hit and keep your eyes up.

“We really honed in on it (Saturday) morning and I thought the kids responded well. I think we only had two or three missed tackles in the whole scrimmage today.”

via WV MetroNews – First-team defense rules day in WVU’s final scrimmage.

WV MetroNews – Banks’ status unknown after senior cornerback misses scrimmage

The status of Icky Banks became murky Saturday when the fifth-year senior cornerback was not dressed for West Virginia’s final preseason scrimmage.

Asked about the whereabouts of Banks, a 12-game starter last season, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson replied, “You’ll have to talk to Coach Holgorsen about that one.”

Dana Holgorsen was not available to the media Saturday, a day designated for interviews with assistant coaches.

Banks also was missing from practice Thursday, at least for the half-hour period to which the media had access. All seemed well as late as Tuesday afternoon when Banks told MetroNews about his enthusiasm for the upcoming season and his relationship with Daryl Worley, a budding star at the opposite corner.

via WV MetroNews – Banks’ status unknown after senior cornerback misses scrimmage.

The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: No guarantees, but Mountaineer offense at least on same page

To paint Shannon Dawson as either an optimist or a pessimist would probably be wrong.

He’s a realist.

Sure, West Virginia’s offensive coordinator thinks the group he’ll put on the field is better than the one that stunk up just about every joint it played in a year ago. That’s the optimistic side.

He also knows that so many things went wrong in 2013, it would be hard just to wave a wand and have them all magically disappear this fall. That’s probably as close to pessimism as he’ll get.

Put it this way. While he knows the job he and his offense are up against and he truly believes his group has made substantial progress, he’s not going to stand on deck and proclaim mission accomplished.

“I’m not ready to pat them on the back yet,’’ Dawson said. “We haven’t gotten a first down yet.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: No guarantees, but Mountaineer offense at least on same page.

Campus Connection: RBs, RBs, RBs – WVU Athletics

West Virginia running backs coach JaJuan Seider has some tough decisions to make as the Mountaineers move toward the conclusion of preseason camp this weekend.

Seider is coaching easily the deepest position on the team with five game-ready players capable of getting first-team reps – Dreamius Smith, Wendell Smallwood, Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie and Pitt transfer Rushel Shell.

In my estimation, the running back depth here right now is comparable to the early 1970s when a bevy of quality running backs forced West Virginia coach Bobby Bowden to move fullback Jim Braxton to tight end, or a few years later when Marcus Mauney made the switch to defense because of guys such as Kerry Marbury, Artie Owens, Dwayne Woods and Ron Lee.

And just like back in the early 1970s with Bowden, West Virginia coaches have a diverse and versatile group of runners at their disposal today.

via Campus Connection: RBs, RBs, RBs – WVU Athletics.