HAMPTON TWP, Pa. (in bed)
So, thank goodness for a good wife and all the well wishes. I should be OK by the weekend. Also, a special thanks to Bill Stewart, who gave me a shutout at the beginning of his news conference yesterday --- a nice touch from a good man.
One reminder: The chat will go on as planned, Thursday at 1 p.m. from this very bed. Be there (well, not in my bed, but you know what I mean).
But, we have business to attend to, and if you'd like to send a question, do it here: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/questions/qaform.asp
Off we go...
QUESTION: Colin, do you see the Mountaineers running the table in the Big East? On paper, no other team has shown the ability nor possesses the talent that WVU has. That being said, if they were to go 6-1 in conference play, would that still be enough to win the Big East and secure a third BCS bid?
Sam in Youngstown, Ohio
COLIN DUNLAP: My prediction in the preseason was 10-2 with one Big East loss, and I'm sticking to it. Although, I am beginning to lean toward the fact that WVU could roll through the conference without a loss. All that said, if the Mountaineers go through the conference with one loss, they will undeniably win this league. Heck, this could be a year where a team does it going 5-2 in the conference.
QUESTION: Colin, what do you make of Bill Stewart being short tempered with the media recently?
- Y.F. in Chicago, Ill.
CD: I touched on it in a previous blog post. Maybe the biggest factor at play here was (and I say was because I think his short tempered nature might be a bit over) the run-up to the LSU game. Seems to me, Bill Stewart had a lot invested into that game, as did everyone else involved in the program. I said in the past it seemed like a bowl game within a season, and after we got to New Orleans and then Baton Rouge, there was absolutely no doubt that was the feeling among the WVU people. As for everything, as for Bill being a little short with the media, it happens to guys under so much stress. It isn't the first time media members have been snapped at, and it won't be the last. It happens, we move on.
QUESTION: Great news on getting the fact that Brandon Hogan was going to start. What did he do, specfically, to get back on the team and was it the right move for Bill Stewart to bring him back so quickly?
- Art in Elkins, W.Va.
CD: I don't know all the particulars, but I know some of his punishment involved a bucket, a rag and the Mountaineer Field seats. You do the math on that one --- 60,000 seats is a lot to wash. In terms of the second portion of your question, Bill Stewart might -- and has -- been under a bit of criticism by some for how quickly he brought Hogan back, especially considering how Jock Sanders' situation was handled in the past. In events such as these, I never really question the disciplinary measures handed out by a coach, as I am a firm believer that each situation is truly different, and each calls for a calculated and well-thought-out punishment. If missing a game and doing some things like washing stadium seats and running stairs (and there are other things we don't know about) is what Stewart saw fit as punishment for Hogan, so be it. Also, in terms of taking him on the trip to LSU, as soon as that was announced, as soon as Stewart said Hogan was going, you had to know he was going to start. I mean, Hogan wasn't going to LSU to take pictures of the stadium --- if you take him on the trip, you start him.
QUESTION: I can't believe Ryan Clarke is our backup tailback. WTF?
- Ross in Putnam County, W.Va.
CD: Let's review something I wrote on Aug. 26 on this blog in a post titled "The things WVU needs to do to reach 10 wins"
"Cultivate a backup back: Remember that Cincinnati game last year? Sure you do. In that loss, Noel Devine got a bit dinged up and, for a spell, Jock Sanders had to move to tailback. This, quite simply, cannot continue to happen. Guys such as Daquan Hargrett and Shawne Alston must understand they need to be ready, that they are one snap away and need to practice like they are starters throughout the week. If they do that, if they prepare like starters, when a starter gets injured, it won't force positional shuffling and borrowing from one side to pay another."
So, there you go, I stand by that. Ryan Clarke is a fullback, not a tailback. Maybe he's a change of pace back on occasion -- everyone saw that work masterfully in the Maryland game -- but he is not the guy you want back there in a single-back set for the duration of a game. What was written in August, still has not changed: WVU needs to cultivate a backup back.
QUESTION: Is Tiger Stadium as awesome as people make it out to be?
- Jeff in Xenia, Ohio
CD: Yes, yes and yes. Great college football town, great atmosphere, tremendous looking nice and polite young ladies, tremendous tailgaters and just a great place to be all around on an Autumn Saturday when the Tigers are at home. I will say this, at times, Tiger Stadium was downright deafening, but from front-to-back, kickoff to final whistle, Auburn was louder.
QUESTION: Your favorite memory of Bourbon Street?
- Pete in Bethel Park, Pa.
CD: Bourbon Street? If you remember it, you didn't have enough fun.
Get all your questions to me...send a bunch if you'd like: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/questions/qaform.asp
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