The second-best college football starter from Jeannette High may have taken his last Division I-A snap.
West Virginia starting center Mike Dent on Tuesday night talked of having a doctor later this week re-evaluate the swollen pinched nerve in his neck, the malady that caused numbness down Dent's arms in the Connecticut game Nov. 1 and a few days later effectively removed him from the Mountaineers' lineup, This fifth-year senior since was erased from the two-deep depth chart and replaced in the starting lineup by Eric Jobe, who is practicing with the first team when left guard Greg Isdaner isn't taking a few snaps at center. Dent said he hopes to play Saturday at Louisville and prepares to start when he "goes to practice very day and takes mental reps. Watches film." But it doesn't sound convincing.
Another Mountaineers member said he thought Dent isn't supposed to see a doctor until next week, and Coach Bill Stewart continued to completely bypass the normal injury coachspeak -- aren't we all "day to day" on this planet? -- and again Tuesday labeled Dent's status as "week to week." Only three regular-season games remain for West Virginia: at Louisville, at Pitt the day after Thanksgiving, and South Florida at home on Senior Day Dec. 6.
"He's definitely going to be missed," said Jobe, who started and played the Mountaineers' Nov. 8 overtime loss to Cincinnati.
"You can't replace a Mike Dent," offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen added. "You're talking about a kid who's a probable NFL performer. An all-Big East player."
Dent, whose high-school basketball records were erased by the same Ohio State starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor who earns the most Jeannette collegiate attention, was second-team all-conference last year and a Rimington Trophy watch-list candidate this fall. He started 21 consecutive Mountaineers games until this ailment.