Greetings on a Thursday, in a week that has been a little cloudy and dreary outside, but it is supposed to be about perfect -- in a weather sense -- for gameday.
With that out of the way, let's get right to it.
Remember, if you want to fire off a question, do so here: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/questions/qaform.asp
Off we go:
QUESTION: How many points will WVU beat Pitt by?
- Neil in Morgantown, W.Va.
COLIN DUNLAP: There is a lot, a whole lot, that can and will transpire between now and then. On both sides. There is absolutely, positively no way anyone can predict that score right now and come close. I'll make you a deal: E-mail your question again on, say, Nov. 21 or thereabouts and I will answer it.
QUESTION: I will be in Las Vegas for the USF game. Where should I watch it?
- Brad in Cleveland, Ohio
CD: Hmmmm. Let's see. I know a thing or two about that town. Well, keep in mind it will be 4:30 p.m., so that changes things just slightly. If you want the sportsbar kind of place, you can always go to Blondie's inside that mall behind Planet Hollywood. They normally have bucket of beer specials for games (and it will also be happy hour) and the betting window inside the Planet Hollywood casino is just a very short walk. If you want a little more upscale, I highly recommend Lagasse Stadium, inside the Palazzo. It has quickly turned into my go-to spot for games, and offers its own book, right there. Lagasse Stadium is, without a doubt, the spot I would choose over any other. But, if you don't want the restaurant sort of scene, just go to a sportsbook. I am partial to Planet Hollywood, which is small, clean and has great TVs, or the Bellagio, which offers the most comfortable leather chairs known to man.
QUESTION: What is up with Pat Lazear? At the end of camp his injury was downplayed significantly and yet he has hardly saw the field all season. Once again thanks for the coverage.
- Steve in Fairmont, W.Va.
CD: It is very, very much of a mystery. I have passed it off, jokingly, as this: Robert Sands is such a bad man, that he even injures his own teammates -- as he was the guy who accidentally leg-whipped Pat Lazear. It is my understanding, after seeing him in the media gathering on Tuesday night, that Lazear is getting much, much better in terms of his leg. He played a bit in the LSU game and looked a step slow, which was to be expected. From what I have been told by staff members, it isn't so much his leg anymore, as that has almost fully healed, but it is a case of him getting his entire body back into game shape.
QUESTION: How much will Tyler Urban's return help?
- Mark in Pittsburgh, Pa.
CD: I think it will help very much in the running game, as Tyler Urban is a master at sealing off that edge and also crashing across and taking out an outside linebacker. To me, Urban's blocking skills are vastly underrated and have been something this team has missed. He isn't the biggest kid, but he is one who likes to get his hands dirty, get in there and scrap. Now, I think Will Johnson is a better receiver, a more crisp route runner and has better hands, but the return of Urban will give the Mountaineers that force on the edge where a running back can get to the corner, make a cut and get upfield quickly as the linebacker or even defensive end is clamped off by Urban.
QUESTION: Why have the special teams been so bad? They are an embarrassment.
- Marty in Follansbee, W.Va.
CD: That is a question no one has an answer to --- and one that is a huge mystery. Granted, last season, the special teams (especially the coverage units) were bad. But, it has been head-scratching how Tyler Bitancurt has underperformed. I seem to think he will bounce back, as kickers generally go in cycles. With that said, once he knocks a couple through, I think he will get in a groove and get it going again. The punting game, from what I saw in the first week (now it was Coastal Carolina) was very good. That group needs to get back on track the way they performed in that one. So, Marty, it is a mystery that the special teams have been below average, but I really don't think they have been an "embarrassment" as of yet. If this persists, maybe it will reach that status, but not yet.
QUESTION: Do you listen to Sportsline?
- T.C. in Grafton, W.Va.
CD: I generally watch it online one night a week, on Wednesday nights, when coach Bill Stewart is on. I've got to say, some people might, and some people might not realize this, but I will come out and say it: Tony Caridi is darn good at everything he does. The guy is really good and I also give a thumbs up to Stewart for standing in the firing line and taking calls from listeners. Believe me, not every coach of a BCS-level school would agree to do such a thing. I do have a question, though: Last night, what in the heck was that one man talking about when he was speaking about pinochle? That was puzzling, tremendously strange.
Get all your questions to me at this Q&A...send a bunch if you'd like:http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/questions/qaform.asp
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One more reminder --- There is a live chat every Thursday at 1 p.m.