Colin Dunlap: OK folks, I'm here and ready to go. Had a great session last week to start the season and, you know they say you always make the most improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, so here we go....
Mtneer: What is the real story between Doc and Stew's relationship?
Colin Dunlap: Be sure to get a copy of One of America's Great Newspapers -- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, tomorrow morning to find out. It should be a good read, as I was working on it before this chat and will continue afterward.
Mtneer: Do you ever sleep?
Colin Dunlap: Here and there, not much. Probably average between 4 and 5 hours per night.
Puskar: What do you make of the Big East injury report?
Colin Dunlap: I hate it, to be honest with you, and have zero idea why the coaches decided to implement it. Here is the thing, it seems OK for conference games, and if they want to do it for conference games, that is fine. But for non-conference games, it make absolutely, positively no sense. Take for example tomorrow night -- Marshall knows Lazear is out and Urban is hurt; on the flip side, WVU knows nothing about Marshall's personnel. And, take this a step further -- what if a Big East team makes it to the national title game against a Big 12 or SEC team? Think about that ... would the Big East team have to disclose injuries whereas the opposition wouldn't? The Big East and ACC are the only leagues that have put this rule in place. For conference games, it is fine; for non-conference games, it is stupid. That said, I say do away with it, completely.
sweatervest: Is Stew gaining weight? That's a serious question.
Colin Dunlap: This is a serious question?
I don't know, I just don't. I'm more worried about, in news conferences, asking him about his quarterback, or kicking game, or offensive line improvements or, heck, about a zillion other things.
sweatervest: You seem to be really tough on Brad Starks
Colin Dunlap: I just don't think, in my estimation, he has shown improvement the way he needs to in order to work into the mix at the rate he should. Also, is it just me, or have some of the younger guys been passing him up?
Puskar: What about Pugnetti.
Colin Dunlap: The kid surprised the heck out of me, made me look like a fool a little bit. I said, all through camp that I thought Corey Smith was the guy who was No. 1 -- and a clear-cut No. 1 at that. Well, I can admit mistake and this was one of them. Pugnetti, after what I saw on Saturday, is a very, very, very good punter. It seems that WVU has three different guys for the three aspects Pugnetti (punts), Bitancurt (placekicks) and Smith (kickoffs) -- which is ideal to keeping people fresh.
Chris, Lewisburg: WVU seems set on using more there new "40" defense against MooU ... will they use one of they many dbacks to cover the TE or just flatten them at the LoS?
Colin Dunlap: This will be intriguing to see, especially with Goode now starting. I think -- and Lee Smith is VERY good -- what you will see is Goode try to come up and be physical with him at the line, try to muscle them up.
BobPruettsNCAAViolations: Colin, do you see recruiting ultimately taking a hit now that Holliday is in Huntington? I'm not at all familiar with WVU's new recruiting coordinator, only that he's been around the program before.
Colin Dunlap: We will see. With anything recruiting related, you really can't get a gauge on it for 2-3 years down the road. This question will be better asked in Sept of 2012. What I do know is this: They apparently (WVU, that is) got a D-lineman yesterday who is pretty good, so that is a positive. Again, though, recruiting is the strangest science known to man --- nothing is a sure bet.
Chris: The rumor out of Morgantown is that Stew and company think the MooU defensive line is weak, especially the interior linemen. Can we expect to see two TE sets featuring the twin tanks of Clarke and Lindamood running the ball
Colin Dunlap: Don't sell the Marshall d-line for being too weak...the guys can play some. I think Marshall is more apt to be hurt up the rail, because they can't matchup with the speed of Tavon Austin.
DougRiggsFuture: I saw that you can't drink until 3pm at Marshall. Why?
Colin Dunlap: Something about there being class on campus or something ... the nerve!
BobPruettsNCAAViolations: You answered my question about ending the Coal Bowl series in your Q&A, but I was hoping you could elaborate a bit ... do you think WVU wants nothing to do with extending the series? Or is that just your personal opinion?
Colin Dunlap: Well, Oliver Luck has vowed to not talk about it in the media -- and hasn't. Thus, we don't know a lot. So, much of it is opinion, but it is also an educated guess. If you look around the country, schools in BCS conferences largely just don't need to go to places that aren't BCS schools...even for 1-for-1s. Makes no difference that they are in the same state.
Chris: WVU is up 28-10 late in the third quarter and has the ball at the 50 with a 2 & 1. Does Stew run for the first down or go play-action and throw deep to I-Mac streaking down the field?
Colin Dunlap: Throws it deep....three times.
Colin Dunlap: It was second down? My bad ... throws it deep, twice.
DougRiggsFuture: What things did you like about Week 1?
Colin Dunlap: In this order:
1. The weather was great.
2. Bob Hertzel commanding the press box.
3. I didn't have to write on a tight deadline.
4. No injuries (or at least major ones) to write about.
Colin Dunlap: Oh...you were speaking "on the field?"
Colin Dunlap: Austin was an ankle-breaker. Devine looked decent (in spurts). Geno Smith commanded the huddle. And, the biggest thing -- the defense has a chance to be lights-out.
BobPruettsNCAAViolations: What of the injuries to Lazear and Urban? Any reason to be worried about their availability against Maryland and/or LSU?
Colin Dunlap: This Lazear thing is strange, seems to have gone on longer than I anticipated. As for Urban, he's probably just "nicked" as Billy would say. I'd expect Urban back -- sparingly -- for Maryland and then full-go for Baton Rouge. As for Lazear, I am puzzled.
Mtneer: Who will be the key player against Marshall?
Colin Dunlap: The man (men) attempting to block Chris Neild and the man (men) attempting to cover Tavon Austin.
BobPruettsNCAAViolations: They have classes at Marshall? Bob Pruett must be upset something fierce.
Colin Dunlap: Are you saying that Randy Moss.....
Chris: Is a good RT the only thing keeping WVU from potentially being a great team?
Colin Dunlap: That is the most glaring component. And, again, I'm just not sold on what they have out there now. But there are also some other things ... I want to see Geno Smith become a third down, money passer. I want to see him become a guy who can make big-time throws when he needs to.
Chris: Jeff Mullen: A keeper or a pretender?
Colin Dunlap: Keeper. He needs to, sometimes, not make things so difficult though. I don't understand -- and this isn't something only Mullen does, but it is all over college football -- why you can't just line up and knock the stuffing out of the guy in front of you and make a few yards. From presnap this, to motion that, to bubble-screen this and misdirection that, it just all seems so complicated sometimes. To me, there is still a place in football for lining up and going forward using bullish type disregard for that man attempting to stop you.
I'd like to see that more.
But, to your point, Jeff Mullen is a keeper -- absolutely, positively, no doubt. Great football mind.
cignetti77: I haven't seen anything about Marshall coches turning in WVU about the NCAA violations. You suggested this a couple weeks ago. Was that just rumor or is there any fact behind that?
Colin Dunlap: Keep your eyes open.
BobPruettsNCAAViolations: What do you make of Barry Brunetti as the backup? And does this spell the end of Jeremy Johnson's time in Morgantown?
Colin Dunlap: Brunetti is, flat-out, better than Johnson. I am firmly convinced the whole "homesick" thing was a case not of homesickness, but of third-string-sickness. When you bring in two QBs in the same class, more times than doesn't, something gives. Could it be Jeremy Johnson leaving? Yeah.
UpstateEer: If Marshall was involved in turning WVU in for NCAA violations (you said to keep your eyes open), do you think that would that be the final nail in the coffin of discussions to renew this series?
Colin Dunlap: Many, many eyes -- if you are a WVU alum or fan -- should be on Oliver Luck and President James P. Clements right now and how they are handling this situation. They have a big decision to make -- do they want to do what Gov. Joe Manchin calls "best for the state" or do they do what is, in reality, best for the university?
Chris: What will Stew say to Doc when they meet at midfield after another WVU win?
Colin Dunlap: "That was neat."
Mang: Not so much a question but a statement, Ollie will alienate some WVU donors if they continue the Marshall series... That's a fact.
Colin Dunlap: Oliver Luck is well aware of every single tentacle that comes out of this. Every. Single. One. The guy is tremendously intelligent and a sound decision maker. If you are a WVU fan/alum, you should have unyielding trust that Mr. Luck will make the correct decision when it comes to this decision --- the correct decision for one entity ... West Virginia University. The man will not be bullied. Understand that much. I have spent time with him and that much is clear.
Chris: Look into your crystal ball and tell us who will be the better WVU QB 3 years from now ... Geno or Barry?
Colin Dunlap: Geno ... if he stays healthy. A bigger if than many realize.
UpstateEer: What's the mood around the Puskar center this week? Business as usual? Otherwise?
Colin Dunlap: Marshall is the next team on the schedule. That is generally how players always look at things. That is to say [FILL IN OPPONENT NAME] is who we have this week, let's go and play them.
BobPruettsNCAAViolations: What is your take on the future of the Big East? Will the Big Ten raid the conference and take away the likes of Pitt and/or Rutgers? If so, where does that leave the Mountaineers in the grand scheme of things? Would they be a welcome addition a conference like the ACC?
Colin Dunlap: It is my thought that both Pitt and WVU will be playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference in four years from now.
Mang: Colin, how do you feel recruiting has gone so far for this class?
Colin Dunlap: I guess OK. In full disclosure, I don't pay attention to it much. I leave that to the guys who pass out arbitrary star ratings to kids they, largely, have never seen play a game in person. I spend the overwhelming vast majority of my energy writing about -- and otherwise covering -- the players who have made it to Morgantown; who have established themselves as members of the West Virginia football program. Not a player who might/could/maybe end up playing for Bill Stewart.
Chris: Can the WVU corners cover the MooU wideouts 1-on-1? Can they shut them down?
Colin Dunlap: Seems everyone will find out tomorrow night. It will be interesting to see how much Jeff Casteel goes with the SWAT and 40 package against Marshall. Those packages look to be implemented more this season than I anticipated.
Wayne: Is your article tomorrow the "hammer" that is mentioned in Casazza's blog today?
Colin Dunlap: Ahhhhhh Casazza. You know he has a chat at 2, right? Right after this one? Be sure to check it out on the Charleston Daily Mail website.
Casazza is a "fine lad" as Stew would say.
Mang: Fair point about recruiting, considering some of the more highly touted guys in recent history, Logan Heastie, Deon Long, Tevita Finau, etc never contributed anything to the program.
Colin Dunlap: Tevita Finau! The abominable Hawaiian! He was the guy all the websites said was soooooooooooooooooooo good WVU was going to play defense with just 8 guys, right?
Colin Dunlap: Well folks, got time for about one more.
BobPruettsNCAAViolations: Just a hunch? Or have there been rumors from within the program? Or is it because Stew sees dead conferences in his sleep?
Colin Dunlap: Hunch...purely a hunch on my part.
I think Pitt and WVU will migrate to the ACC.
Oh well, it has been splendid. Remember, make this part of your weekly routine. Same time, same place --- all the time. Thursdays at 1pm.
And, as I said above, Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail has a chat on Thursdays at 2, so jump over there after this, get two full hours of chat -- how can you go wrong with that?