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Awaiting WVU’s elusive championship

As WVU’s loss at Iowa State unfolded into certainty, I couldn’t help but flash back to January of 1989.

And to dearly departed scribe Mickey Furfari.

At the time, he was my boss as the sports editor at the Dominion Post in Morgantown. We, along with a few others from the newspaper, were sent to cover the Sunkist Fiesta Bowl, aka the national championship between West Virginia and Notre Dame.

I remember Mickey because after covering the team all those years, after waiting for just such a moment, the Dean’s computer went on the fritz. He had to dash back to the hotel (for, yes, he was prepared, bringing another). When he’d returned, though, the game had all but been decided. He’d missed it.

Major Harris’ arm had already been ground into the soggy turf. Tony Rice had already struck. Rocket Ismail had already struck. The game was, for all intents and purposes, over. And Mickey missed it, not returning until halftime.

I bring that up because I’d been thinking maybe, just maybe, this might be that special year for WVU. Will Grier found his way to Morgantown. A fine receiving corps is on hand. There are a pair of nice offensive tackles. On the other side, defensive linemen Kenny Bigelow and Jabril Robinson transferred in to help linebacker David Long and company.

Maybe, I thought, I’d see what Mickey never did. I just had this hunch. WVU has Oklahoma at home this season and, well, if not this year, when?

Then came Saturday night’s mauling at the hands of ISU. One hundred yards passing. One-of-10 on third downs. Seven sacks.

It has me wondering. God bless ya, Mick, but, hey, am I ever going to see it?

I know. Perhaps there’s still time this season, if Dana Holgorsen can pull a Bob Huggins and “fix it.” He seems to have confidence. And he does have an off week.

“There’s a lot we didn’t do [against Iowa State], but I know this group has it in them,” said Holgorsen on Monday. “I’ve seen it. It’s my job to take as much time as we have to get these guys ready to go. We could use a few extra days, certainly.”

***

During Holgorsen’s Big 12 conference call on Monday, he was asked about the extraordinarily rough outing by Grier. And check out where he used emphasis within his answer.

“It’s really frustrating,” said Holgorsen. “That’s part of being the quarterback. Everybody is going to blame the quarterback, the play caller and the head coach. And all that needs to come my way, there’s no question. It’s not fair to point the finger at him 100 percent. The expectations he has on himself and we have on him – and the whole country has on him – can be unrealistic at times.

“We need to do a better job of blocking up front. We need to do a better job of running the ball to take some pressure off the passing game. We need to do a much better job of running routes and getting open. And then we have to trust what we’re doing and let ‘er rip. We’ve got a little work to do here.”

Catch that? WVU needs to do a “MUCH better job of running routes and getting open.”

So while folks were screaming for Grier to throw the ball on Saturday, maybe, just maybe, there was more going on than the TV showed.

***

The headline from Holgorsen’s conference call appearance had to do with Iowa State’s postgame fan management.

Or what he perceived as a lack thereof.

The Mountaineer coach was asked about getting his team off the field as thousands swarmed Jack Trice Stadium.

“Yeah, it was very unprofessional,” said Holgorsen. “Our job is to keep student-athletes in a safe place. And when you have thousands of people coming at you, it’s not good. There are league rules and league bans against that for a reason. Our job is to keep players safe. We didn’t have time to get them off the field. So that was not good.”

Holgorsen did say no Mountaineers were hurt.

“It was dicey there for a while,” said Holgorsen. “We rushed a few of the main guys off and the rest were kind of on their own. Luckily, we got out of there without anyone getting hurt.”

Oh, and no, the Mountaineer coach didn’t have a chance to shake the hand of ISU coach Matt Campbell.

***

And finally…

Holgorsen was asked if the quarterback turnover within the Big 12 had to do with low scores on Saturday or if league defenses have improved. Five the eight teams playing last week failed to hit 20 points.

“The defenses have been playing well,” said Holgorsen. “Our defense has been playing pretty good holding people down. Texas Tech’s defense has improved. Kliff [Kingsbury] is doing well at that. Coach [Bill] Snyder’s [Kansas State] defense, I thought, was outstanding when it came [to Morgantown]. And then obviously Iowa State did as good a job against us as anybody ever has.

“I think we’re doing a good job in this league defensively. It’s always been known for offense, but I’d say at this point defenses have been doing well as well.”

 

An optimistic yet wait-and-see approach to WVU

West Virginia University’s football team is in some rarified air right now. Not like that of 2007, mind you, when the Mountaineers climbed to No. 1 in the coaches’ poll and No. 2 in the A.P. poll, but rarified nonetheless at No. 6 in both rankings. Yet I’m getting the feeling those in the Mountain… Continue Reading

WVU’s ‘relaxation situation’ and Kansas

WVU fans might cringe when they see their Mountaineers are favored in Las Vegas by 29 points (and climbing) for Saturday’s home game with Kansas. Simply stirs up bad memories, this being-a-four-touchdown-fav business. There was that Backyard Brawl deal in 2007 that may never stop stinging. And last year, heavy underdog KU gave WVU fits… Continue Reading

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? Facebook Knows Them Better

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? Facebook Knows Them Better

Have you ever been out at a restaurant and seen someone from across the room for the first time in your life, and the next day the same person is suggested as “People You May Know” on Facebook? This isn’t by some coincidence or divine intervention. Facebook has a very in-depth (and somewhat creepy) algorithm… Continue Reading

Branding You

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After many months, weeks and days of planning, I finally tied the knot! One thing that I had been looking forward to was my new last name. While I have received the compliment (from more than one person) that the name Olivia Morgan sounds like a movie star name, I can’t even begin count the… Continue Reading

You Get What You Pay For

You Get What You Pay For

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Dana and Kliff; Tech and WVU defense talk?

Dana and Kliff; Tech and WVU defense talk?

Something just wasn’t quite right on Monday’s Big 12 conference call. There was Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury talking about the Red Raiders’ defense. There was WVU’s Dana Holgorsen talking about the Mountaineers’ defense. In a good way. Odd, perhaps, considering the recent failures of both schools’ defense. Yet take a look at this Saturday’s… Continue Reading

Wheelhouse Creative Adds Veteran Reporter to Talented Team

Wheelhouse Creative Adds Veteran Reporter to Talented Team

Wheeling, W. Va. – Wheelhouse Creative announces the addition of award-winning journalist Mitch Vingle to its talented team of creative professionals. Vingle brings over 38 years of writing experience to the team. Whether as a beat writer for WVU sports, a sports editor of the Morgantown Dominion Post and Charleston Gazette or award-winning columnist, his… Continue Reading

Flying in Small Planes

Flying in Small Planes

The joy of being strapped into a tin can thousands of feet above the ground. I was having lunch the other day with Jamie Bordas and Joe Monahan from Wheelhouse. Jamie was telling us of a pleasant experience he had recently had on his first privately chartered airplane trip. He mentioned that it was out… Continue Reading

The Life Lessons I Learned from World of Warcraft

The Life Lessons I Learned from World of Warcraft

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs, mercifully) get a bad rap for being life-sucking parallel universes. However, games like World of Warcraft are a microcosm of many real-life experiences. No, really. For those who are unaware of how World of Warcraft works, here’s the gist: you start out mostly broke, you have no skills, very… Continue Reading

A Non-Designer’s Guide to Using Fonts

A Non-Designer’s Guide to Using Fonts

To most non-designers, the words “font”, “typeface”, and “typography” are interchangeable. But, from a graphic design perspective, there’s a difference. Although there is a lot of controversy over the terminology, here’s a simple way of looking at it. A typeface is a family of fonts. A font is a specific typestyle within that family. Typography is the art… Continue Reading

The Deep, Dark Pit of Filmmaking

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I remember one day long ago I had the bright idea to create short films as a hobby. I thought to myself it can’t be to hard all you really need is a camera, and a way to edit video! So that’s what I did I would invite my friends over, and we would make… Continue Reading

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