Colin Dunlap: Well hello, and welcome to the live chat for Nov. 11, 2010. This should be a dandy. Jut your jaw and bow your back but watch out -- don't get punched in the nose.
With that, let's get going.
kennesaweer: Colin, the message boards are abuzz over a fan boycott/stay away from Mountaineer Field as a way of showing their displeasure with the current coaching regime. Is this the right way to show Ollie Luck our frustrations (ie, less fannies in the seats=less MAC $$ in the future)?
Colin Dunlap: If money talks, then wouldn't no money send a very strong message? I would seem to think the answer to that is "yes."
MTNeer: What did you think of Jock Sanders comments about people not understanding football?
Colin Dunlap: Let's get this out of the way off the top: I like Jock Sanders. A lot. Great kid -- he has been open and honest through much of the past few weeks when some seniors on the cover of the media guide (um, Noel Devine) have walked right past the media, refusing to talk. But, it is my thought here that Jock got this one wrong. When someone goes with the whole, "they never played a down of football, they wouldn't understand line" I'm not really that into it. Because, let's look at it this way, let's spin it around: How about we say, when a player scores a TD, only those who have ever "played a down of football" are permitted to clap. Or, let's advance this further --- imagine if, in order to buy a ticket to Mountaineer Field, a prerequisite was you had to have "played a down of football" in your life. Seems the football program wouldn't be raking in the money like it is now, would it? So, while I kind of understand Jock's statement, the reality is people who never "played a down of football" are going to say things, they are going to react, because those people follow this team and spend a lot of money doing it.
Mick Ultra: Is this a lost season for WVU?
Colin Dunlap: In some regards, with some in the fan base, yes....and I don't know if I'd blame them too much for feeling that way. Most people considered the Mountaineers to have the core talent to at least fight for a Big East crown. As it looks, that will not happen. So, by that measure, you could throw the "lost season" tag on it.
Otto Graf, Highland Park: Chances this team turns it around and gets a little help from UCONN tonight and runs the table to the BCS Game?
Colin Dunlap: Highly unlikely.
If I'm in Vegas, there is a +360 denotation next to that bet.
You think about that.
Mick Ultra: What is your prediction for the Pitt-Conn game tonight
Colin Dunlap: What did Zeise say? He's the guy who knows a lot more about the Panthers than I do. But, I will give it a go -- jut my jaw, bow my back and think about this one. Having seen both teams play at least three times, and factoring in this upswing that Pitt (and more precisely Tino Sunseri) is on, coupled with UConn playing at home, and the strength of their linebackers, this might be close. But, I really do think Pitt should overmatch this UConn team. I am going with something in the area of Pitt 27, UConn 17. But, again, Zeise knows more than I do.
kennesaweer: OK, we get, Bill Stewart is a great guy because he plays well with reporters, etc.(from ALL national and local media accounts including yours). But, if he is not going to directly answer the tough questions about "the teams offensive identity" and what changes will be made to right the ship the rest of this BE season, doesn't that contradict the "Stew is great" philosophy?
Colin Dunlap: He has no obligation to answer the tough questions. I, simply, have an obligation to ask the pertinent ones --- which are sometimes "tough." In terms of a great guy, I don't really know how much that has to do with the few-hour span on Saturdays when the football team is competing. Wins seem to override what a man is like. Look at a certain fellow in Tuscaloosa. Has anyone ever mistaken him for a "great guy." I don't think. But he wins.
90210: Who is the West Virginia coach most apt to not be on the staff next season?
Colin Dunlap: David Johnson 2/1
Jeff Mullen 3/1
Bill Stewart 4/1
Fumbleitis: What are your thoughts about Ryan Clarke?
Colin Dunlap: It happens. But, with Ryan Clarke, it happened a bit too much -- and in an incredibly important time -- against UConn. To his credit, he faced the music with the media and spoke about this though, and it is something I am writing about for tomorrow's Post-Gazette. I think it says a lot about his character that he was willing to talk about his mistake(s) and answer questions. Now, that is all great, speaking about it and facing the media. But, there is a very real practical quotient --- if he puts in on the ground a few more times, they simply cannot keep playing him.
mdeer: your odds on staff changes based on what records?
Colin Dunlap: The above odds all move to 1/1 if the team finishes 0-4 or 1-3....if anything else, the above odds hold.
Colin Dunlap: Gosh, I feel like Jimmy The Greek.
He's from "up on the Ohio River" right? He's a Valley Boy. That's neat.
Vinnie: I'm sure your tired of answering Stewart questions. So, what are your predictions for the wvu-cincy game?
Colin Dunlap: I really want to say 3-2 WVU.
Colin Dunlap: But I can't.
Colin Dunlap: I say WVU wins a tight one, if for nothing else than they are playing at home. WVU 17, UC 10.
kennesaweer: can the WVU defense contain Callaros, Pead and a dangerous Cincy offense or if it becomes a shootout can the mountie offense score more than 20pts. this week?
Colin Dunlap: They cannot score more than 20 (I don't think), but they can contain the UC offense -- which isn't as tough a task as one would think. I think Collaros (he's an Ohio Valley boy, from up on the river) was better last season, to be quite honest. The one thing that could swing this game is UC's special teams return game. If one of those guys get loose, forget it, all bets are off.
Paul: Colin do you think it could go even deeper to our Strength Coach who happened to be the same coach at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis when they had a terrible o-lines. O linemen seem slow and fat.
Colin Dunlap: I think Mike Barwis -- say what you will about him -- had the big guys looking a lot different. Then again, remember, it was a different style of football. To be very fair, though, the o-line hasn't been injured, they haven't really been gassed much, but, yes, most don't seem very strong. I will stand by what I have been saying about the o-line: It comes down more to recruiting. After Don Barclay, I don't see a guy who is a legit all-conference talent. Jenkins was supposedly all-world, he's just OK and got manhandled on that Clarke fumble play at UConn. Madsen and Braun are, again, just OK. Same with Jobe --- average. Then there is Bowers, a guy who people on here got all over me for when I said he should "be playing at Marshall." You saw what happened when he needed to start, right? They should have put one of those beeping things on him they put on 18-wheelers, because he was always going in reverse. All that said, the ills of the O-Line come back to recruiting more than anything. Again, I challenge you to find me a very good offensive lineman, talent-wise, not named Don Barclay.
Justin: during Coach's Stew's recent press conference he mentioned that there may be a few recruits in from Ohio this weekend...Any idea who is visiting?
Colin Dunlap: I've heard a kid named Benson Browne ... a big TE who could move to tackle.
Colin Dunlap: And, if I am not mistaken, he is from Cincinnati --- which is a thumb-your-nose moment at the Bearcats if Stew can land him.
Justin: Hey Collin, if the season continues as it has gone the last few weeks and Stewart is let go what kind of issue would this cause with recruiting? I am just wondering if there would be a lot of decommits or if most players have committed to the school and not specifically to Coach Stewart.
Colin Dunlap: Lots of factors.
Most of all, it would depend on the guy they brought in and where he was coming from.
MarcoTrue: Do you agree with Mullen trying to make Geno a running QB?
Colin Dunlap: The way Jeff Mullen described it on Tuesday night when I spoke to him was that "we are an option team and Geno ran some option plays there." It didn't come across in the offensive coordinator's explanation like those were designed runs, although from my seat at Rentschler Field, they certainly looked like it. Nonetheless, you have to believe Mullen when he says it. I will say this, though: The UConn staff was stunned, they were fooled in the early going. In terms of agreeing with it? No, not really. I'd rather see another played used in a Wildcat package, as I don't think it is wise to have your franchise QB out in the open field where someone can hammer him.
Rob w.: Hi Colin, thanks for all your work. In your opinion, do you see any change in Bill Stewart as the proverbial pressure and heat increases?
Colin Dunlap: A little. It is hard to explain, but there seems to be a bit of a change. I will say this: I watched that Sportsline show again last night and some of the answers were quizzical. I know he is always going to refer to the past (Pat White, Owen, Slaton, etc.) but at this time, right now, that might not be the best route to take. He might need to quit relying on those crutches and just come out and say something different.
Justin: So is there any word on a time frame the Big East is looking to expand by adding the two additional members for football? Also TCU appears to be the most attractive candidate but last I read is they would want in on all sports. Do you think TCU would really want to make the move and wouldn't it be worth booting a basketball only program to get them?
Colin Dunlap: I don't know about a definitive time frame, but I will say this: It will be sooner rather than later. Think about how much they got accomplished in a short time in Philly. I said from the beginning and I am sticking to this...it will be Villanova and UCF.
MarcoTrue: A prediction for the Cinci game.
Colin Dunlap: - Fewer fans than normally see a November game in Morgantown.
- If WVU gets behind, it will sound like they are saying "Stewwww" but they will not be, they will be saying something similar sounding.
- A few knuckleheads will be wearing those t-shirts that guy was selling; the ones the MAC said they won't take his money for selling.
- The defense won't yield more than 21 points.
- Some fans will drink before, and after, this Big East Conference game.
- Bob Hertzel will make a snide comment in the press box.
Jake: Do you think it would be more Likely that Stew would be given another year if it wasn't for the changing college football landscape. The general belief is that there will be super conferences soon and that WVU is very much on the bubble regarding inclusion. Does this significantly increase the pressure to make a swift change sooner than would normally be warranted?
Colin Dunlap: Not as much as you might think, but I could be wrong. I think it comes down, simply, to wins and an offensive identity.
Paul: Hi Colin with the shortage in numbers on our o-line in the program last year especially how smart was it for them to run Gino Gradkowski off by telling him he would not start at WVU. Gino transferred to Delaware after that. This was from DJ.
Colin Dunlap: Don't be so certain they "ran Gino off." How are you so certain the truth wasn't somewhere in the middle? Are you 10000000000 percent sure there wasn't fault on his end?
MTNeer: Is this Stew's last year?
Colin Dunlap: The odds have been posted above.
Anyone want to talk about, well, football?
Or the players?
Or Nick's Canteen?
Or anything but this?
Justin: So do you think there is any legitimacy to the report that TCU could be added to the Big East? If TCU has real interest don't you have to drop a school like DePaul and invite TCU in all sports?
Colin Dunlap: Sure. But does the Big East really want to invite TCU as an all-sports member? Seems to be a bit counterproductive (and cost prohibitive) to be sending field hockey teams to Ft. Worth, right?
SheikYbuti: Is Nick still in business? "One steak and cheese, pay now please."
Colin Dunlap: Those are low fat, right?
Rob w.: Your question kinda speaks volumes about where things are right now, huh? Crazy. Do you sense anything different in the players this week? Positive or negative?
Colin Dunlap: Oddly -- and I cannot overstate this -- the offensive guys and Jeff Mullen were ridiculously upbeat. Mullen even walked into the media room with a big grin and announced, "OK, I got my thick skin on" very loudly before he started answering questions. It was a bit odd, but he wasn't in the doldrums, as I expected.
Lee: Is there more to Noel Devine's off year than just his toe injury and the O-line? Or are those two factors really all there is to his reduced production?
Colin Dunlap: I just wonder if he is more injured than everyone is letting on. A prediction here: I would wager he gets surgery after the season and it comes out that he "needed" it or at least could have used it all year.
KMS: Is Tavon Austin getting as frustrated as I am that they don't use him more often? The kid seems to be the biggest playmaker on the field.
Colin Dunlap: He is a very soft spoken (and intelligent) young man. I noticed no different in his demeanor the other night. Should they use him more? One would think. Is he getting frustrated? If so, he is not showing it.
Rob W.: I live in Cincy and my gut tells me that IF this team was EVER going to blow somebody out, this is the week. What choice does Mullen have but to dig in and get after it. I guess that is what I'd like to see more of in Stew, less BS talk (take that how you want) and more results. Don't tell me what you are going to do, just show me. Hopefully they can find a balance for Geno between the first half of the Syracuse game and the UConn game.
Colin Dunlap: Well stated, Rob. I refuse to believe they can blow someone out until they prove they can win another conference game first, though --- baby steps.
Colin Dunlap: Thanks all for the glorious chat. Wonderful time. See you next week...same place, same time, we will have fun.