Jenn Menendez's West Virginia football chat transcript: 10.11.12

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Jenn Menendez: Hello from West Texas. We'll get going in just about 10 minutes, but wanted to open up the queue for questions. Thanks for joining.

Jenn Menendez: Alright well thanks for joining me today. It's overcast and about 70 degrees in Lubbock today. Game day looks to be high 70s so far.

teddyballgame14: What are the odds that Stedman Bailey goes pro after this year? Hard to imagine he can improve on his draft stock next year with a young QB...

Jenn Menendez: Good question to start with. I have not personally asked him this question, simply out of respect for the season that still lies ahead. But my instinct would tell me it might be the right time for him try and move on. You're right, there will be a new and young quarterback next year and doesn't seem like his stock could get much higher.

Mister Wu: Any idea of the travel schedule for the team? when will they arrive...

Jenn Menendez: I don't know their exact itinerary. But they arrive sometime around late afternoon tomorrow.

teddyballgame14: Recognizing that most contract extensions are meaningless, how long can WVU fans realistically expect Coach Holgersen to stay in Morgantown? Isn't this just a stepping stone for him on his way to something bigger?

Jenn Menendez: Getting a lot of this question lately, and honestly can't give you much more than an educated opinion. I think initially it seemed this job might be a stepping stone for Holgorsen, but he does speak highly of the area, seems to get along great with AD Oliver Luck, so who knows.

chris: WVU expecting any fans in Lubbock this weekend?

Jenn Menendez: I know the alumni association has an event going on pregame Saturday, so I would imagine that means they expect a decent turnout. Fans traveled in droves to Austin...so does that mean they stay home this week?

teddyballgame14: What are the realistic chances that WVU gets knocked off at Texas Tech this weekend? The Big XII is far better than the Big East was last year, and WVU has a habit of losing games they shouldn't...

Jenn Menendez: The word "trap game" were thrown around a bit this week. And I can see why. Texas Tech has a very highly ranked defense that's good against the pass and the run. But they're also coming off a rough loss at home to Oklahoma, so we'll see on Saturday if that defense is the real deal. I don't think West Virginia gets knocked off though.

danks: Shawne Alston going to travel?

Jenn Menendez: Don't have an answer for this one unfortunately. I know they were hoping he would get out this week and have three good practices.

Bige_2: Jenn, were you surprised at the way Buie was able to slice through the Texas D? And doesn't this now make the 'EERs a nightmare to prepare for?

Jenn Menendez: You know, I was very surprised at first. Did not expect that at all. But as the game went forward less so, just because of what the Texas defense was giving them.

TheGreatGuzoo: My crystal ball says WVU makes it through the Big 12 undefeated but its very cloudy about the Mountaineers making it the national championship game. What do you say?

Jenn Menendez: Wish I had a crystal ball, or even a magic 8 ball. Last week was a big indicator for me on what this team is capable of doing when games get hard. The fact the defense was able to make a few key stops was really important. This offense will score. We know that. But in a game like Texas, without those key stops late, this team might have a different record here.

Okiesteelerfan: As a long time big 12 and an OU fan welcome to the league WVU. Beware Lubbock is where the refs are blind and the fans are horrible ( They Manured the A&M buses when they announced they were leaving for the SEC). How do you see the WVU season ending in their first year in the league?

Jenn Menendez: Well thanks for checking out the chat. I'm sure the WVU fans are glad to heed your warning. I see this season ending with berth in the Fiesta Bowl...not quite ready to proclaim them ready for the national title game. I'm with the old school folks on this one, and I think a team needs a better defense to get there. But so far it looks like it will end quite well.

Dave: Comment: I did research deep thigh bruises... some say 4-6 weeks, and very easy to re-injure.

Jenn Menendez: Yes, I did learn bit more about thigh bruises and you're right. It sounds like one of those injuries that can just keep coming back. Not quite as bad as a groin injury...those can be career wreckers....but a bit more serious than what it might sound like.

Josh: Could WVU beat a defensively powerful team like Alabama? Geno would have to be protected.

Jenn Menendez: I think that would be a very compelling game. And given the time to prepare, I wouldn't put anything past this coaching staff or this offense. The line in particular has continued to show they can protect Geno. Certainly that would be the test of the year...but again, I really wouldn't put anything past this team with a month to prepare for a game.

teddyballgame14: What are pro scouts saying about Tavon Austin? Do you think his skills transition well to the NFL game? Can't he be favorably compared to Percy Harvin?

Jenn Menendez: I don't know what they're saying right now, but I have to imagine his speed alone gets him on the radar of many teams, not to mention his ability to make defensive backs miss. And I like your analogy to Harvin because of his return ability.

Bige_2: How is the overall health of the team following the Texas game?

Jenn Menendez: From what I hear everyone is pretty healthy. With the exception of Alston...not sure where he stands.

teddyballgame14: With Geno as the perfect example to learn from, how good can Ford Childress be next year when he's asked to take over the reigns?

Jenn Menendez: You're right, Geno is obviously a perfect example to learn from. So much of the success of this offense comes down to how sharp his decisions are this year. That said, the staff constantly talks about the "second year" in this offense being the one where it really comes together. So while the receivers and the O-Line and everybody else will be clear, you have to imagine the quarterback may need the same kind of time Geno did.

Okiesteelerfan: As an NA and Duquesne U grad and living in Oklahoma (OU fan) its good to see WVU in a real league now. Look forward to many great games with you all. What do you think Geno Smiths chances of winning the Heisman are? Do you think the team needs to win the Big 12 for consideration?

Jenn Menendez: Geno is the obvious frontrunner for the award at this point. But it's a loooong season and there are a lot of games left. He has to keep playing with this kind of efficiency, accuracy, and not have any bad games. Do I think he can do that? Yes. But he has to prove it still. And that's a fact. They don't give that award out in October.

danks: So, can we say we say the defense is improving? Went from 63 to JUST 38 offensive points. Or am I just grasping at thin air?

Jenn Menendez: I'd say the defense is improving a bit, yes. You're not grasping at thin air by any means, but in my opinion it was far more critical that they came up with those stops late in the game at Texas.
There's no way this group is going to suddenly run to the top of the nation's defensive standings. But what they can do is get those key stops when the game is on the line. They did that at Texas. I'd call that progress.

Josh: Do you see WVU getting cocky if they keep winning? Cockiness can be good or bad, which do you think it is?

Jenn Menendez: We all know the old stereotype of taking it "week by week." This team really does do that. I have not sensed them being too high or low, and think the coaching staff does a very good job of keeping them grounded. They remind them of all the mistakes they make in any given game and I think that keeps them fairly grounded.
Cockiness is not good. But confidence is. There's a fine line there, and so far I think this team walks it.

Josh: Do you think going for four 4th down conversions gives the offense more confidence & shows the coach believes in them that much more?

Jenn Menendez: That was pretty remarkable at Texas, 5-for-5 on fourth down. Not sure if we see that every week, they must have seen something the defense was giving on fourth down to go for it. I think it shows this staff is good at making calls. But a secondary effect is probably some added confidence for the offense. (as if they needed any!)

teddyballgame14: With the tough schedule that remains, one can easily anticipate a loss or two along the way. That said, a superb start has the hype machine buzzing and his name is out there as a leading candidate. What does Geno have to do to win the Heisman Trophy?

Jenn Menendez: You're right, the hype machine is certainly a-buzzing. Like I said, I think he has to keep playing the way he has been. If he does, it's his.

Jenn Menendez: Well great turnout this week. Thanks a bunch for joining me. If I get any update on Shawne Alston's status I'll be sure to post in the blog and the paper too of course.
Otherwise, I'll just be hanging out and working in Lubbock for the next few days.

As always, feel free to reach out on email: jmenendez@post-gazette.com or find me on twitter: @JennMenendez

Thanks again. wvusports


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