And here you go with another dandy, tough-as-a-mine-mule installment of the Q&A.
Remember, if you want to submit a question for the Q&A, it is very easy and can be done here: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/questions/qaform.asp
Onto the questions:
QUESTION: What accounts for the poor play of the offensive line over the past two seasons? Not too long ago, we had one of the best lines in the nation. Now, they seem rather pedestrian.
- Justin in Scott Depot, W.Va.
COLIN DUNLAP: Scheme. Offensive mindset. While I appreciate the crux of your question, and it sounds open and shut on the surface, I think the premise might be flawed a bit without looking deeper. In Rich Rodriguez's offense -- while, granted, guys like Dan Mozes were very good -- you were asked to do different things as a lineman, you were more apt to get out and run and didn't have to lock on as long. Now, under Bill Stewart, things are more of a pro-style look at times and the linemen are staying at home a bit more. That said, they are asked to stand at scrimmage and fight, which is a bit tougher. Do they need to get better? Absolutely. Can you, on the surface, just compare this line play to what was done under Rodriguez? No, because the systems were so much different.
QUESTION: What about Maryland vs. WVU. If the series is being extended past 2013, shouldn't we have heard something by now?
- Jonathan in Washington, D.C.
CD: Perhaps, but there seem to be a couple of factors in play, here. First, there is that uncertainty hovering around the Gov. Joe Manchin Bowl. Secondly, starting in 2014, there is a home and home with Michigan State that lasts two seasons, and don't forget the East Carolina game picks back up -- if I remember correctly, that runs from 2013-18 or something of the such. And, also, there is a Towson State game thrown in there in 2014. There is another factor, too: Don't overlook this whole Villanova-coming-to-the-Big East thing and, also, the further conference reshaping. That could all play a factor. So, it is with that said, that there might, or might not, be room for a Maryland series beyond 2013. Heck, who knows, after 2013, Maryland might end being a conference game.
QUESTION: It looked like Geno Smith was calling a lot of plays at the line in response to some Marshall looks. Is this typical for a college QB, especially one in his second start? Any sense of how his trying to change calls worked-- did they result in gains, losses, time outs?
- David in Lewisburg, Pa.
CD: Here is what happened: Early in the game, WVU went to this intricate numbering system it had devised, instead of the usual hand signals they use. They did this because of the many coaches on the Marshall sideline familiar with West Virginia -- including Doc Holliday. That system, though, became too cumbersome and slow. In the second half, Bill Stewart said the heck with it, and went back to his traditional style, even at the risk of Marshall picking some things up. Dave Hickman of the Charleston Gazette wrote a darn good piece on the situation.
QUESTION: Maryland put up 62 points last week (I know it was at home against Morgan State). What about this Maryland team do you see as the biggest challenge for the Mountaineers this weekend?
CD: The fact that West Virginia's defense, and more to the point Jeff Casteel, have to spend the week preparing for two quarterbacks. That is never an easy task. It is my contention that WVU will win this game, but using prep time to have to get ready for two guys is, well, tougher than knowing you just are going to face one guy --- logic would tell you that much.
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