Colin Dunlap: OK, welcome to the after-the-regular-season, before-the-bowl-game West Virginia University football chat...what you say we get going? Huh? Let's see if I can answer the questions, match the mountains that you set out in front of me.
Jamie C: What is your take on Zach Collaros getting 1st team all BE honors over Geno Smith, who had more wins, and much better stats? And a unanimous choice? Does that mean STEW voted him over Geno too?
Colin Dunlap: Have no idea as per the voting....didn't go over it. Honestly, yesterday was a bit of a hectic day, so I just looked at the winners. But, if I remember correctly, you cannot vote for your own guys, they throw that vote out. In looking at the situation, I could see where maybe a coach or two, or maybe three, could vote for Collaros over Geno Smith. But, certainly, I think Geno Smith had a better year and should have been named the first team guy. Again, though, I saw Geno Smith live 12 times and Collaros just once live (and he was hobbled) and about 5 times on TV.
TheVLC: Hi Colin. New to the chat, but been reading for a while. Anyway, now that we got the the coaching rumor hoax on Tuesday, what do you think about the actual changes in the mix....Mullen to Kent and Dave Johnson's future......
Colin Dunlap: Don't be afraid to ask questions. Start asking questions --- this is interactive for a reason. Now, onto your question: I would love to see Jeff Mullen given an opportunity to be a head coach at a school in the MAC. Jeff, in my estimation, often times gets a little too much heat. He didn't fumble the football, he didn't make the wrong read(s). Now, granted, I think he could have opened things up a bit more at times, but I think he's a pretty good football coach, a very good football coach actually. There were times (one in particular) that I felt I was even a bit too hard on him. And, I contacted him to let him know my question was unfair. Onto Dave Johnson....I have said all along, it isn't coaching with that unit, it is largely talent. Joe Bugel could have coached the WVU o-line this season and I honestly don't know how well they would have performed, especially on the right side.
TheVLC: Word is that Josh Francis just comitted to WVU and is supposed to be a phenomenal OLB. Now, though, he is pitching DeJuan Blair's brother to come with him. Do you know anything about the guy?
Colin Dunlap: Greg Blair? The kid dresses a big game, looks good in pads. I remember seeing him play in high school. He did a lot of talking and cleaning up piles and looked good in a uniform but wasn't much of a ballplayer. On that Schenley team, if I remember correctly, they had Dre Kane, who is now at Marshall playing basketball, play quarterback for a year. I swear to you, I saw him throw it 80 yards in the air once. Swear to you. But as for Greg Blair....I'll pass.
Major4Prez: Colin, since it appears Brunetti will transfer, what's your take on the QB situation? I guess Coley will move full time to the back up role. Do you think Athey has a real shot of being ready for the backup role next year? If Geno stays healthy no big deal, but what if....
Colin Dunlap: What if.......Well, when JB got hurt, Geno was a true freshman backup. He beat Marshall and then played OK in the Gator Bowl --- as a true freshman backup. That said, if you go to the backup QB, there will be a dropoff with just about any team (unless you are USC in the 2000s) and Athey will have to be ready to play. And Coley is also in the mix.
Colin Dunlap: Not having a great backup QB isn't the dire straits some make it out to be.
Mike: Has you or any other reporter ever asked Stew why he does not play the reserves more. I was reading Barry B's stats just now and on the year he was 4-9 for 6 yards. seems to me that some of these back ups should have been given more time in mop up time. I understand there is a fine line between running plays and running up the score, but i feel these guys need playing time that is how you build a program
Colin Dunlap: They play a lot in practice. Plus, what game, exactly, did you want them to play in?
Jim L: If Mullen happens to get the HC job at Kent State, who do you think we go after to replace him, would Beatty be a candidate?
Colin Dunlap: I think Chris Beatty would, definitely. And he should be. I would also think Frank Cignetti, Jr. might merit some consideration. When he isn't handcuffed by personnel and a less-than-stellar college quarterback (see: Sunseri, Tino) Cignetti has been very good in his career....as has his brother, Curt.
SheikYbuti: re: Brunetti playing time - How about Syracuse and UConn?
Colin Dunlap: Oh yes, that's what you want to do, put a true freshman -- with no experience -- in there when you are trying to fight back to win a conference game that could decide a BCS bid and a conference title. I am glad you aren't my stockbroker.
pgheer: Wannstedt was 26-12 the last 3 years. Stew is 27-12 the past 3. If those records are reversed and Pitt had beat WVU would Wanny still be at Pitt and Stew looking for a job?
Colin Dunlap: Stew was 2-1 against Wannstedt and the two losses for Dave were when Pitt was No. 8 in the country and when Pitt had the inside track for a BCS bid and lost to WVU in a blowout at home. Those meant a lot to Dave's demise. Rivalry game wins count for double --- and the losses count against you triple. Ask John Cooper.
major9: Do you have any reason to believe that by O. Luck not publicly coming out and supporting Stew as his coach, that he is doing right by him?
Colin Dunlap: Said it before and I will say it again: Oliver Luck is not a man who will, in his tenure in Morgantown, ever come out and make statements in the media involving personnel. Get accustomed to it. That's how he is going to operate -- and I agree with it. The man is 10000000 percent class.
Mike: i forgot to pitt (CC, Rutgers, Cincy, UNLV), there are 5 games you can play back ups in. Not only the back up QB's but back ups everywhere. See what they got, mix in with starters so they are not on the field with 10 other backups.
Colin Dunlap: The backups played a lot in the UNLV game. Same with Coastal. Perhaps we were watching different games. And did you not see Rutgers score at the end?
Hello: Ollie might be class, but don't you think there is a lot of speculation and his silence is hurting Bill's recruiting efforts? It seems similar to what Dave Brandon (sp) is doing to Rodriquez.
Colin Dunlap: No. His silence has zero impact.
W.Gwinn: Let's say Mullen get's the job for the Mac. Think we may see a possibility of another Cignetti at WVU as the OC next year? He is a hell of a good recruiter and not a bad OC either.
Colin Dunlap: A chance, yes. I think Chris Beatty would be considered first.
Cole Bowers: Is there a chance Rick Trickett will come back and coach me into an All Big East 1st teamer next year?
Colin Dunlap: Um, no.
Jamie C: Are there any big name recruits you have heard in the past week, in lieu of the coaching changes around the country, that are taking a hard 2nd look at WVU now? aka Pitt/Florida recruits? Do you expect Luck to come out with something formal as to the future of our staff soon, to help land said recruits?
Colin Dunlap: Again, I don't expect Luck to ever say much in terms of personnel. As for the recruiting shuffle, I don't know how much the carousel will find its way to the WVU guys.
Hello: I guess I respectfully disagree. Heck, Bill was being announced as retired on Sunday after the Pitt game on ESPN. Everyone I talk to in Morgantown isn't sure if he is going to be back next year. That is some mighty ammo for MD, VT, VA, and PSU.
Colin Dunlap: He was? On ESPN? I challenge you to send me that tape. And you say, "Everyone I talk to in Morgantown ...."
Do you mean "Everyone who reads eersports.com in Morgantown ...."
b.starks: this kid Josh Francis from Lackawanna was a big get. but what do you think they should be recruit hard in this years class? QB & OL?
Colin Dunlap: Francis is a big get, as is the LB from Steubenville. Both will be good; at least that's the projection. I think you MUST go after o-linemen and, to a lesser degree d-linemen. And getting a QB is also paramount --- preferably one who stays in Morgantown until the snow melts.
WVMule: Charlie Taaffe?
Colin Dunlap: Didn't happen before, something tells me it won't happen this time.
Jim L: Looking ahead to next year do you think Bruce Irvin will be used as more of an every down type LB/DE or will we still use him as a 2nd/3rd and long type blitzer?
Colin Dunlap: Let's see what happens with his weight. I think that has to be the foremost component in what sways the decision from a position standpoint.
Hello: Yes, he was. It was on ESPN radio as I was driving back from the beach. And no, it was not eersports.com. Your are burying you head in the sand if you don't think rumors of Bill being gone are not out there. My point is that it is hurting Bill's mojo. You disagree. Fair enough. I enjoy your content very much and thanks for the coverage you give.
Colin Dunlap: It was on ESPN radio that was citing a report. One that was proved, eventually, to be erroneous. Are there rumors? Sure. I admit to that. None have been substantiated. Is it hurting Bill's "mojo?" The "mojo" was hurt by losses to Syracuse and UConn more than anything.
WVMule: Paul Chryst then....
Colin Dunlap: Indiana sure would never want to play a team he coached.
Colin Dunlap: What did he score? 137 on the Hoosiers?
JL: How are you and Casazza going to deal with the separation anxiety as the football season winds to a close?
Colin Dunlap: He walks his dog. I'm having twins. Both statements are true.
Hello: Sands? Coming back for a senior year? Anybody else you thinking might leave early?
Colin Dunlap: Not that I can see --- and I think Sands comes back. I think he definitely should come back. It would benefit him a great deal.
TheVLC: I know that we have a lot of rotation in our defensive schemes, which has be believing the linebackers and secondary will be fine next year, but how do we possibly fill the voids left bu Chris Neild and Scooter Berry?
Colin Dunlap: Ain't going to be easy. People talk about all the other positions, but Neild is THE guy who will be missed most. I spoke to Skip Holtz about this, and he was adamant about just how good Neild is, about how much he leverages the middle of the field and makes the entire defense go. I want to see what happens w/ Josh Taylor.
hometownstew: Any chance Casteel goes to a bigger name school definsive coordinator job ?
Colin Dunlap: Not seeing it. I think he loves Morgantown, his family loves it there and he is quite god at what he does.
WVMule: So is Oliver Luck having a presser next week or just issuing a release....?
Colin Dunlap: I think he put out the baseball schedule yesterday.
Jamie C: What is your line on the Bowl game? WVU -3?
Colin Dunlap: Sounds about right...make it 3.5.
TheVLC: SPeaking of eersports.....do you think that the internet rumors about our coaching staff can be an impediment to recruiting, or it this a phenomenon that happens at every school
Colin Dunlap: The Mullen stuff is not internet rumor.
Late Great Leslie Nielsen: Where would you put some of the seniors in the draft? This season didn't help Noel at all, but Neild and Hogan positioned themselves nicely.
Colin Dunlap: I don't think anyone is a first round pick. And, let's stop using "first day pick" because there isn't such a thing anymore...the NFL format now has the entire first round only on the first day, right? That said:
Jock...late or UFA
b.starks: Do you think Clarke shouldn't be carrying the ball so much or use someone different in the redzone/goaline situations?
Colin Dunlap: I think he has exhibited a disproportionate holding-onto-the-ball to putting-on-the-ground rate in the red zone. For that, he should face consequences.
pgheer: Now that you are on the Duquesne beat, how about a prediction for Sundays game at the Consol? 2 West Virginia born Head Coaches squaring off.
Colin Dunlap: Blowout. WVU by 26
Jim L: With all of this time off before the bowl game do you think we may see the real Noel Devine one last time?
Colin Dunlap: Maybe. But I don't think we will see that until he gets surgery. I said that back the week following LSU.
JasonEverett: Where does Brunetti leaving leave WVU next year in terms of backup QB's? Coley White? YEEESH...
Colin Dunlap: I am with you. Coley White is OK -- at best. If his name was Coley Gray, he'd be looked at differently. He is not someone you hang your hat on in an effort to advance your program.
pgheer: Did Devine accept a Senior Bowl bid?
Colin Dunlap: Said he did, yes.
major9: Then do you yourself, believe that Stew is confident that he will remain our coach or does he seem to be blowing in the wind
Colin Dunlap: I believe Bill Stewart will coach the West Virginia University Mountaineers football team in the 2011 season. I really do.
Then again, last week, I felt Dave Wannstedt would coach the 2011 Pitt Panthers.
I feel stronger about Stew, though. I think he will be back.
JL: I'll eat a jar of mayonnaise if Bill Stewart isnt the coach next year
Colin Dunlap: Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?
W. Gwinn: Who is more likely to gone with a bowl loss? Stew or RR?
Colin Dunlap: Ask Josh Groban.
WVMule: Serious question..if WVU is the road team in the bowl will they wear the Pro Combats again?
Colin Dunlap: Haven't thought much about it. I don't see why not. I know this, I spoke to Jock Sanders and he loved the uniforms. I mean, seriously, he loved the things.
w.gwinn: I love you man, but Sands not ready for the NFL? Come on dude. I have followed you more since stumbling onto you, due to the fact you see things similarly(spelling), Sands is by far a late 1st or late 2nd. THIS YEAR. With his size, speed, and ability not know the shiznit out of you. Do you not think?
Colin Dunlap: Oh, if he came out, he'd get drafted. Definitely. Staying in school would benefit him a great deal. He would go from a 3rd round guy to a 1st round guy. He is NOT a first round pick right now. Sorry.
WVMule: fun hypothetical question... suppose Pitt would hire Rod. What kind of hype would Rod's return to Morgantown generate? What kind of security would be needed to keep Rod safe? Would WVU be forced to erect hockey style protective glass around Mountaineer field. Would ESPN move the game to a ppv event? Or would Pitt just forfeit the game in Motown every year?
Colin Dunlap: Did you see when LeBron went to Cleveland the other night? Multiply that by about 257224564652652356236952398453294623694369.
hometownstew: Recruiting seems to be OK on commits at this point (3 stars in general) but do you expect more 4 stars near signing day ?
Colin Dunlap: Who gives these "stars." Have you ever met the man, or even spoken to the man, responsible for these "stars?"
Major4Prez: I heard you on Hoppy this morning and greatly enjoyed the interview. On that topic, do you think all the critism really bothers Mullen or does he realize thats the way fans are everywhere and shrugs it off?
Colin Dunlap: Jeff Mullen has thick skin. All coaches hear the criticism, they feel it and it bothers them to varying degrees -- even if they say it doesn't. Jeff Mullen, I am convinced, allows it to bounce off him better than almost any coach I have ever interacted with.
hometownstew: good point on the recruiting stars.....believe Sands, Slaton and White were 2s.....
Colin Dunlap: And how many stars was that kid from Washington, Pa. who won the Rimington?
Colin Dunlap: Got time for two more before we move over to Casazza's chat --- if he isn't walking Lilo (that is his dog's name, serious).
major9: I wouldnt blame Mullen for wanting out, esp. for a head coaching job. I really think his offense works though, and it might set us back another year or so. Dont think Beatty is ready, arent you the one who reported that he called the red zone offense?
Colin Dunlap: I did, yes. I think the red zone offense got progressively better as the season went along. I think Beatty would be a solid candidate. Not a slam dunk, but someone Stewart should consider.
Late Great Leslie Nielsen: Does UConn get it's doors blown off, or does "Big Game" Bob have another epic fail in the Fiesta?
Colin Dunlap: With a good running game and above-average o-line, I don't think they get hammered. Now, they are not going to win, but I am not on this "UConn will get crushed" bandwagon. I see them losing by two-and-a-half touchdowns or so.
Colin Dunlap: Thanks much everyone ... GREAT chat.
Remember, there will be one next week. Same time, same place.