Stephen J. Nesbitt: Good afternoon and welcome to the last WVU live blog of the 2013 regular season. It's been quite the ride, and let's finish it strong.
West Virginia closes the season on Saturday by hosting Iowa State (2-9, 1-7 Big 12). Dana Holgorsen yesterday called the Cyclones "the best 2-9 team in the country." Clint Trickett took it a step further, calling them the "best 2-9 football team in the history of football." Regardless, it's a completely meaningless game other than that it's senior day for a 14-member senior class that has gone through just about everything -- from coaching changes to system changes to, now, no bowl game -- to get here.
With that, I'll fire two links your way, and we'll get started.
Today's notebook: Holiday spirit not quite lost on Holgorsen: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/2013/11/27/West-Virginia-notebook-Holiday-spirit-not-quite-lost-on-Holgorsen/stories/201311270096
All 'Eers: Clint Trickett admits he hid an initial concussion against K-State, two weeks before getting knocked cold against Texas: http://blogs.post-gazette.com/sports/2013-06-20-18-53-28/all-eers/39898-clint-trickett-admits-he-hid-a-concussion-vs-k-state
Brian Jozwiak: Holgo needs to be fired yesterday. Rich Rod isn't walking through that door. Who do you hire? Va Tech Def Coordinator?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Well, to address the first point, I don't see Holgorsen getting fired. He's due an insurance year, I think. Rich Rod definitely isn't walking in the door anyway, as his Wildcats just knocked off Oregon. He's sitting pretty. Now, count me in as a huge proponent of VT defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Michigan played VT two years ago in the Sugar Bowl, so I was able to sit down and chat with Foster and, let me tell you, he's got a brilliant (and defense-focused) football mind. He and Keith Patterson would make a pretty great tandem if you could fit two DCs on a squad and have it actually work. Both great football minds.
Bill: Why did a great man like Bill Stewart get treated like garbage in order to hire this misfit? Is Dana still getting drunk and kicked out of casinos?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: We get it, this season has tanked and is done with. But you've got to remember the talent drop-off from a year ago. This team had no offense coming back; it was fully expected to be a tough season. This tough? Nah, but brutal nonetheless.
I wasn't here when Bill Stewart was here, so I can't speak to his character or his departure. I also have seen no evidence of Holgorsen's alleged improprieties, so I can't help on that front. But I do think with a second-year QB next season, this offense is going to tick better, even with the loss of Charles Sims. Can it do any damage against that schedule? Not so sure.
But that all goes back to the conversation about the transition to the Big 12. It's like nobody wants to admit how difficult that move is. The expectation wasn't that WVU would be a Big 12 contender in Year 2, it's that the program would start to pick up the right size and style of players to start making an impact in the conference. They're not there yet. Not at all. But they weren't expected to be either.
Look around the country. No team that went "up" in realignment (going from a lower conference to a power conference) has fared well. And I mean it. I have a spreadsheet on that for a later story. WVU isn't alone in this. It's brutal to watch as a fan, sure, but it was bound to be that way.
Slow day on the line. We'll keep today short. Fire away if you've got any questions, though we've exhausted just about every last storyline as this season runs down to its bitter end.
Guest: Does the O-line and D-line have a lot of returners next year?
Stephen J. Nesbitt: It's a pretty even split. On defense, Shaq Rowell and Will Clarke are both graduating and NFL-bound. On offense, Curtis Feigt, Pat Eger and Nick Kindler will be graduating.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: Alright, off to Duquesne duties. Thanks for stopping by this afternoon. See you Saturday.