What began as an innocuous, not-much-going-on Monday morning rapidly ripened into, well, a whole bunch of stuff going on. There was the LSU kickoff announcement (that was expected), there was the Maryland series extension (not so much expected), there was Noel Devine getting conference offensive player of the week (OK, but why not Geno?) and then the news of Brandon Hogan making another off-the-field, poor decision (will he ever learn?).
But, as always, this Q&A is a steadying sail in an otherwise hectic day. Oh, and thanks for all the questions; on Monday, I think you folks set a new record ... I received a whole lot of 'em.
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
Here we go:
QUESTION: If WVU's offensive line problems continue, do you think it might be a good idea for the coaches to look into burning Quinton Spain's redshirt, and inserting him into the line to see if he can get that issue settled? He couldn't play tackle worse than we've seen so far.
- Jamie in Knoxville, Tenn.
COLIN DUNLAP: No, no, no and no. The kid isn't ready -- not by a longshot in my eyes. Spain, while enormous, while almost as big as a PRT car, isn't in shape enough -- or technically sound enough -- right now to be plugged into a college game. The whole "we want Spain!" contingent seems, to me at least, like the same kind of message board know-it-alls who claimed, before a snap was taken this year, that Bruce Irvin was going to "devastate" people and "be an immediate game changer" and "have at least one sack a game" and all that stuff. Guys take time to develop, and putting Spain in the game right now, in my eyes, would be counterproductive to both the team and, more important, him.
QUESTION: What do you think the relationship is like between Coach Stewart and Jeff Mullen? Do you think Stewart, if the offense continues to struggle to score touchdowns, will start calling some plays himself?
- Ben in Morgantown, W.Va.
CD: The relationship between those two men is wonderful -- I don't think that, I know it. You say "struggle to score touchdowns." Well, this team has scored six touchdowns in two games. That isn't exactly struggling. Jeff Mullen is in charge of the offense, and he should be. Did you happen to miss the playcalling on the 96 and 98-yard drives at the end of the Marshall game? Seemed pretty fair to me.
QUESTION: Through two games it looks like Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders have two of the wide receiver positions and Stedman Bailey took Brad Starks' position after the injury. Anything happening with Ivan McCartney to indicate he may become a bigger part of the offense? He was highly touted but has barely played so far.
- Mark in Alexandria, Va.
CD: The continued regression of Brad Starks -- I am telling you, he is the next Wes Lyons -- is something that can only help McCartney. If Starks' playing time continues to dwindle, McCartney will find his way on the field. Also, though, don't forget J.D. Woods is in the mix, too, and becoming a pretty decent target. So, as with any true freshman, McCartney is getting better each day, learning the system more and more each day. I'd say, in a month or so, how much McCartney plays will depend most on two things: Brad Starks' health and Brad Starks' practice habits, as he might play McCartney into the lineup if he doesn't heal up or shape up.
QUESTION: What seems to be the consensus among the WVU press corps about the offensive line and it's coaching?
- Wayne in Morgantown, W.Va.
CD: The press corps can be a fickle bunch. Here's the consensus right now: This ain't Joe Bugel and The Hogs we're dealing with. That could change, especially with good performances the next two weeks.
QUESTION: I was very impressed with Boise State's offensive calls and tempo against VT. Any chance Bill Stewart and Jeff Mullen will quicken the pace of the calls, especially with the success of the last two drives at Marshall? The play calls have been frustrating since Mullen arrived. I think the quick pitch sweep to Devine and the quick 5-7 yard slant to Sanders or Austin will be very effective.
- RWL in Pleasant Hills, Pa.
CD: I absolutely agree with you. This West Virginia offense seems to be playing its best, when it is playing its quickest, when it gets up to the line and goes. I would venture a guess that we will see a continued expeditious nature to the unit, much like we saw in the final two regulation drives against The Herd. As you know, there were some communication issues early in the Marshall game, leading to the offense playing slower than it wanted -- but that all got worked out in the second half. With all that said, I'd expect this offense to pick up its speed ... and remember, Geno Smith is still relatively new to all of this; let him learn a bit more how to get things done.
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