And here you go with another dandy installment of the Q&A. You folks are sending in a lot of questions, and I like it. Perhaps WVU coach Bill Stewart --- as he did of one of his players on Tuesday --- would say you've been "working like a mine mule."
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
Alright, enough nonsense...onto the questions:
QUESTION: Colin, what is your prediction for the Coal Bowl on Friday? Also, do you feel that the series will be renewed between the schools? Personally, I'd like to see it end. This "rivalry" does not benefit WVU in the least, considering that the 'Eers are expected to beat the Herd every time out. A loss to Marshall could have devastating consequences in any given season.
-Sam in Youngstown, Ohio
COLIN DUNLAP: I am a man of my word, and I made a game-by-game prediction late last month. In those predictions, I said WVU would win this game, 38-17, so I have to stick by that forecast (by the way, I said WVU would win the opener, 35-10). I have also said, though, if Stew and the boys can score 150 points on Marshall, they will --- there is a bit of bad blood, even if the parties on both sides are saying all kinds of nice things about each other in the run-up to this game. As for the continuation of this series, if you are West Virginia, I'll sum it up in one word: Why?
QUESTION: At times when I was watching the game on Saturday, I couldn't tell the difference between No. 7 and No. 1 when they had the ball in their hands. Tavon Austin looked great. Do you think he will be the front runner to replace Noel at RB next year, or do you see Tavon sticking at reciever?
-Andrew in Austin, Texas
CD: Coming into this season, Tavon Austin was the front runner to replace Noel Devine, there was no question at all.
And then, during preseason camp, he said this to me:
"If I get good enough at receiver, I might want to stay out there. Because, out there at receiver, I'm not taking as much of a beating. And, you know, it gets me in space faster. If I master this position, if I see that I can play it this year, I wouldn't be that mad if I don't go back to running back next year. I'm just saying, if I get good enough out there at receiver, and I have to get better, but if I get good enough, yeah, sure, I'd stay out there."
Well, that sort of changed things a bit. Now, I am firmly convinced that if Daquan Hargrett or Shawne Alston or even Trey Johnson can improve throughout this season to the point where Jeff Mullen can have some trust in them next season, that we will never see Tavon Austin as the feature back in Morgantown. And, you know what, that might not be a bad thing --- in WVU's offense, the kid looks like a natural replacement for Jock Sanders to me, and not Noel Devine.
QUESTION: What is something that covering the team you see, but WVU fans commonly get wrong?
-Ralph in Tampa, Fla.
CD: That Rich Rodriguez invented football. And started the West Virginia program. And was the person who drew up the "Flying WV." And built Mountaineer Field with his bare hands. And built the Mountainlair in two hours without the help of anyone else. And carried in each car, on his back, one-by-one, to get the PRT going. And could clean up Sunnyside in 10 minutes with just a push broom. And founded The Pride of West Virginia. And ....
Well, I think you get the point, but if you don't, here it is: Rodriguez was a fabulous football coach, a wonderful leader of the program -- but West Virginia University had a pretty darn good football heritage, and was a solid University, before he arrived, and has been just fine since he departed. It is just strange to me how many folks, particularly people my age and younger -- I am 33 -- forget just how great of a coach Don Nehlen was.
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