By Colin Dunlap | 11:32 a.m. Tuesday
QUESTION: I have noticed that WVU has no commits from any western PA recruits. This staff seems more interested in recruiting FL, MD, VA, and OH than western PA. Is this a result of the 2007 game or the staff playing to its strengths (i.e. Doc Holliday in FL or Chris Beatty in MD) and the tidewater area of VA? Is this just a one year thing or do you see this as the start of a trend?
S. Kosanovich, Fairmont WV
DUNLAP: Very, very good question. Recruiting, as with just about everything in college football (except for ESPN's coverage of Tim Tebow) goes in up and down cycles. To your particular question, trust me, West Virginia hits western Pennsylvania hard, with offensive line coach Dave Johnson assigned to that area and Bill Stewart often sent in to close the deal on recruits they want from there. Let's remember, in the last few recruiting classes, the Mountaineers have got Will Clarke, Pat Eger, who look like they will help next season, and Don Barclay and Tyler Urban, who are huge impact players right now. In terms of where they are right now in western Pennsylvania, I k now that there are some players they went after in this class, and they are still in the mix for Penn Hills' Cullen Christian, but I think it is just a case that maybe a few kids didn't want to go to Morgantown and maybe WVU didn't want a few kids.
Again, it is a cyclical.
While there is a very, very good chance WVU will not get anyone in this recruiting class from the WPIAL or City League, I can guarantee they will get a kid or two (or more) in the next few years. Western Pennsylvania has long been a lifeblood as a heavy recruiting base for the Mountaineers and will continue to be.
In terms of Florida, Maryland and the Tidewater - you have undeniably hit on something. Look for the Mountaineers to continue to get (or at least try to get) top notch talent from those places. Doc Holliday is a big-time recruiter in the Sunshine State and, quite frankly, a good portion of his hiring was to bring Florida kids to Morgantown. For him to be a success, he needs to deliver. Same with Beatty in the Metro DC area.
QUESTION: Do you think WVU has gotten so little respect this year in the National Media because Bill Stewart is seen as a "Bad Hire"?
If you look at Bill Stewart's record as a Head Coach for WVU, he has had the best start ever for WVU coach. He is 16 -5 in his first two years, won two Bowl Games, one was a BCS Game. He has had better recruiting classes than Rich Rod. Changed a run oriented offense to a productive more balanced offense.
If WVU had the same record with Rich Rod at the helm they would probably be a ranked in the top ten. I wonder if WVU had hired Terry Bowden, or an up and coming coach, if he would be hailed as a genius with Stew's accomplishments?
Paul Grandinetti, Columbus, OH
DUNLAP: I don't know. I think the people who need to know, understand how wonderful of a coach Bill Stewart is. To me, and I have said this before, there are a whole lot of programs around this country that only wish they had a football coach like Bill Stewart. Great man, great coach, great leader of young men.
That said, you are onto something in terms of being noticed.
Bill Stewart doesn't jump around and beat his chest. He never has, never will.
That said, the national media - and more precise TV cameras - are never going to twist into focus on him because he's not that great of a story. He's just a guy who goes about his business, coaches his football team and makes it about them, not about him.
To me, that seems refreshing - to the national media, that ends up being a "non-story."
So, I think if he was "louder," if he was more of a self-promoter, the national media would come around more, but Bill Stewart isn't all that concerned.