West Virginia Notebook: Magee, offensive assistant set to join Rodriguez at Michigan

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A handful of West Virginia assistant coaches are expected to tender their resignations today so they can join Rich Rodriguez on Michigan's staff.

In addition to the expected exit of assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, who attended Rodriguez's introductory news conference Dec. 17 and then returned to help the Mountaineers upset Oklahoma, 48-28, in the Fiesta Bowl, the entire weightlifting staff and at least one other offensive assistant are poised to go, too.

Strength and conditioning director Mike Barwis, considered critical to the Mountaineers' rise to a Top 10 program, is expected to take director of skill development Chris Allen plus assistant strength coaches Parker Whitman and Kenato Tamura to Michigan.

Offensive line coach Greg Frey is another Mountaineers assistant ready to leave, though the assistant he followed last January from South Florida, Rod Smith of Franklin, W.Va., was reputedly on the fence about whether to go to Michigan or stay in his home-state school.

Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and safety coach Bruce Tall were being courted by new head coach Bill Stewart to remain with the Mountaineers and remained undecided.

A new beginning

Perhaps Wednesday's 48-28 victory against third-ranked Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl is more a beginning rather than an end for the Mountaineers.

Eight of 11 starters return on offense, with tailback Steve Slaton being a ninth if he chooses to remain at school rather than opt for the NFL draft. Should Slaton go, freshman Noel Devine, who finished the season with 600-plus yards, capped by a 13-carry, 108-yard, two-touchdown Fiesta Bowl performance, gives Mountaineers fans hope.

The special teams return relatively intact, including Plum kicker-punter Pat McAfee, who moved into third place in the school's all-time kick scoring list Wednesday.

The defense will need the most work.

Seven starters used up their eligibility, including four of the five defensive backs -- and one backup. Stalwarts such as defensive linemen Keilen Dykes and Johnny Dingle, along with linebacker Marc Magro will be missed. Linebacker appears pretty well stocked with Fiesta defensive MVP Reed Williams, Gateway's Mortty Ivy and nickel-defense specialists John Holmes and J.T. Thomas.

New right tackle

Stephen Maw is a 6-foot-6, 300-pound junior from Erie Community College and Central Square, N.Y., who did all right subbing for Selvish Capers, who twisted an ankle two weeks ago in practice. Maw sealed the right end of the line when fullback Owen Schmitt rumbled around for a game-changing, career-high, 57-yard touchdown in the first half. Maw also knocked off two Sooners on one of White's long runs en route to 150 of West Virginia's 349 yards rushing.



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