www.charlestondailymail.com WVU Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers WVU coach 'puzzled' by infatuation with NBA http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150626/DM03/150629343 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150626/DM03/150629343 Fri, 26 Jun 2015 00:01:00 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Before the NBA Draft came and went on Thursday night, it was commonly assumed that West Virginia University star Juwan Staten, the team's best player the past two seasons, wouldn't be chosen during the two-round selection process.

To some, that is no surprise. Staten stands just under 6 feet tall after being listed at 6-1 the past three years. He shot 44 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range in his WVU career, and his scoring dipped from 18.1 points per game as a junior to 14.2 this past season.

To others, that omission is concerning. Staten was first-team all-Big 12 each of the past two seasons, and not since 1981-83 had a Mountaineers player been a first-team all-conference pick in consecutive seasons. He was a finalist for some individual awards and made different All-America lists. He could defend, making the Big 12's all-defense team in 2014, and he could break down defenders to get to the basket.

Yet for one reason or another, Staten wasn't fit to be drafted, and there are those who believe revamped rules in college basketball will benefit similar players in the future. They believe the new college game with a shorter shot clock and a more stringent bias against physical defense will better prepare them for the NBA, which has an even shorter shot clock and less tolerance for aggressive guarding.

And then there's Bob Huggins.

"I'm puzzled by the infatuation with the NBA," the WVU coach said. "We continue to go in that direction. I think we have a better game. I think we have a game that is a lot more pleasing to the eyes. I don't understand why we continue to go in that direction. I thought our game was pretty good. There's something to be said for people who do a great job of guarding and playing in the half-court."

Beginning in the fall, the college game will have a 30-second shot clock, six seconds longer than the NBA's. The Big 12 coaches don't believe it'll affect the game much. A few would like to see it trimmed to meet the NBA's length. Post defenders won't be allowed to use their frames sculpted throughout the summer to body up an offensive player and stop scoring near the basket. Perimeter defenders won't be allowed to touch offensive players with the ball or slow them as they motion around the floor to run a play.

The goal is to increase the pace of play, elevate the scoring average and make the college game more fun to watch.

"I think the more we reduce the shot clock, the more and more the best player is always going to win," Huggins said. "You can't run a lot of offense. You can come down and run a quick-hitter into a ball screen or you can spread everyone out and drive it. I just think everyone is tired of watching 40 free throws a game. That's what it's going to end up as. It's just the nature of what it is when you have to spread people out and not run offense."

He admitted he's one of the few who is not in favor of the changes, but the idea of auditioning amateur players for the pros or emulating the NBA game isn't what bothers Huggins most. He's offended by the idea the college game is fracturing and that the gatekeepers can't keep up with the way the sport is changing or being changed - or both.

For too long now the changes have been about the people who officiate, televise or watch the games and not about the ones who participate in them.

Huggins watched the NBA Finals. He saw Cleveland's offense whittled down to LeBron James isolating and attacking. He also saw Golden State coach Steve Kerr tinker with his lineup to play with a smaller team that pushed Cleveland's bigger players off the floor and created a scoring formula the Cavaliers couldn't crack.

"Go back to what we all consider the great coaches of all time; they controlled the game with their offense," Huggins said. "They played great defense, but the truth of the matter is they controlled the game with their offense. They were great coaches because they probably didn't have as good of players as other people did, and they still won because they were able to control the game."

That's the major separation between the college and NBA game. There are other rule disparities, but there is no greater difference than the personnel. Sixty players were drafted Thursday night and every year the college crop is displaced by international prospects. There are 30 teams with a roster limit of 15 players and just 18 Development League teams.

Division I college basketball is many times larger with 351 teams and at most 13 scholarship players. Only a fraction of the players in any year will ever go to the NBA. Yet coaches and players have to find and accept ways to win, and sooner rather than later.

"I think when you lower the shot clock and the more rule changes we make in that regard, the more the best players are always going to win," Huggins said. "If you think that's what basketball is, it's great for the game. If you don't think that's what basketball really ought to be about, it's not good for the game. Lowering the shot clock, more possessions, the best player is always going to win. Maybe not the best player, but a collection of the best players, without question, will always win. The more possessions there are favors better players."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU sports broadcast deal settled out of court http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150625/DM01/150629349 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150625/DM01/150629349 Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:32:02 -0400 By Samuel Speciale A lawsuit alleging the West Virginia University Board of Governors and its nonprofit foundation violated state purchasing rules when it struck a deal to broadcast school athletic events has been settled out of court.

Filed by the West Virginia Radio Corporation, the years-long lawsuit was set to go to trial on Monday after pending in Monongalia County Circuit Court since June 19, 2013.

In the lawsuit, John Raese, West Virginia Radio chairman and a former U.S. Senate candidate, alleged university officials rigged a bidding process to guarantee the school's contract for third-tier media rights would be awarded to IMG College, a collegiate sports marketing company based in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Those rights include access to less desirable basketball and football games not broadcast on major networks like ESPN. West Virginia Radio, for decades, broadcast football and basketball games, but was an unsuccessful bidder for the renewed rights.

The lawsuit also alleges the university foundation skirted state purchasing rules by acquiring a free video scoreboard for the WVU Coliseum when it bought one for Milan Puskar Stadium from Panasonic for $5 million.

In a statement announcing the settlement, university officials said all claims against all parties were resolved. The terms of the settlement, though, have not been disclosed, and school officials have declined to comment further.

The legal dispute started in December 2012 when IMG won the initial contract, which was later scrapped after West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey found significant errors were made during the bidding process.

In his review, Morrisey found that then-athletic director Oliver Luck shared confidential information with Board of Governors member Drew Payne, who was an investor in West Virginia Media, a company that partnered with IMG to secure the media rights.

Despite saying the university was "sloppy" in the process, Morrisey said he found no evidence that wrongdoing was intentional.

Following Morrisey's review, the media rights were bid out a second time with Luck, Payne and others with conflicts of interest removing themselves from the process. The contract was again awarded to IMG, which agreed to pay the university $86.5 million over 12 years, which was about a $1 million-per-year increase over the initial contract.

That contract was later challenged by West Virginia Radio, but a state judge denied a request to null the agreement.

University officials say the process led the school to evaluate its procurement and purchasing practices, which they say have now been revised and improved.

Raese and WVU President Gordon Gee issued a joint statement earlier this week saying they were "pleased" and "satisfied" with the settlement's outcome.

Contact writer Samuel Speciale at sam.speciale@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-7939. Follow him at www.twitter.com/samueljspeciale.

Mike Casazza: Boykin blueprint at TCU could benefit WVU's Crest http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150624/DM03/150629465 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150624/DM03/150629465 Wed, 24 Jun 2015 22:05:15 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The head coach renowned for intelligence and innovation on his particular side of the football is still looking to make that big splash in the Big 12. The time has come for his program to be more than a meddler in the middle.

The trouble is the situation at quarterback. He has a fierce competitor who has a promising mastery of the position and the command of the locker room. Teammates respond to him. Coaches trust him.

But the head coach also has a gifted younger athlete who just looks like he belongs behind the center in the shotgun. He looks like he could play a couple different positions. He looks like the last guy who should be holding a clipboard.

The spring sees the older player tighten his grasp while the younger athlete becomes part of an experiment. He's playing receiver and lining up in the backfield, and he's making a difference because he's that type of asset.

But he's also sneaking in snaps at quarterback. The offense isn't much different when he's there, but there are more designed runs and a greater threat of a quarterback making a big play with his feet.

This is fun, but it's also the spring, and when it ends older player is still in control. Then the summer months arrive, and they're filled with workouts and meetings. The coaches gather daily and spend time critiquing the quarterbacks and crafting ideas to improve the offense.

That spring experiment? It should be part of the reality. The idea is a 50-50 split isn't a good idea. It would weaken practice time and compromise the offense, which is to say jeopardize the season. "But I do believe there's a place for both of them," the head coach reveals.

"You can't just say that your game plan is all about a guy that's a thrower and he hands it off and he does a great job checking and has a strong arm," he says. "I think you have to get ready for both of them, just like we've done for other schools in this conference, if they have a guy that can throw it and a guy that does a better job running.

"For a defensive guy, that's a lot different animal because you've got to put a lot more work into it."

It worked out pretty well for TCU, though not immediately, for head coach Gary Patterson and for the gifted younger athlete, Trevone Boykin.

Those were Patterson's words. That was his situation for 2013. He had veteran Casey Pachall and Boykin, then a sophomore who actually took snaps at running back the year before until he was forced to start when Pachall was suspended the final nine games.

A reformed Pachall earned the starting spot in 2013 but played two games before he was injured. Boykin started the next five games - and went 2-3 - and then moved back to receiver - and ended up the fifth-leading receiver - when Pachall returned.

TCU finished 4-8 in 2013, but Boykin was the absurdly well-rounded starter last season. After 3,300 yards and 33 touchdowns passing and 700 yards and eight touchdowns rushing, he really should have been invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony for making TCU a team that really could have made the College Football Playoff. The Horned Frogs finished 12-1 and will be a top-five team in the preseason.

It's Dana Holgorsen's situation now at WVU. He has Skyler Howard, a gritty junior college transfer who began as the backup's backup last season and wound up starting the final two games. But Holgorsen also has William Crest, a redshirt freshman who played a little and impressed a little more last season before a shoulder injury sidelined him and elevated Howard.

Howard entered and exited spring football as the No. 1, but Crest's skill is unshakable, and the Mountaineers found ways to get him on the field toward the end of the 15 practices. In the spring game, he completed 3 of 5 passes for 31 yards and ran twice for 16 yards. At receiver, he caught three passes for 31 yards.

In the summer, he's giving WVU plenty to consider.

"It's probably too early for him for us to say that we're looking to use him like Boykin at TCU," said graduate assistant Mike Burchett, who is WVU's de facto quarterbacks coach. "I do think they can do similar things and we can use him as an example for how we want him to play and help the team."

Howard continues to look like the first snap, first game choice for the Mountaineers, but Crest wasn't moved to receiver because of that. He was moved to incorporate a different position so he could better understand the offense and benefit the team now and in the future.

"We don't want to move him from quarterback because he's got the tools to be the guy down the road," Burchett said. "He's just got to keep learning and growing. We kind of fooled around with it at the end of the spring and put him in a couple different situations, and he responded well.

"It opened his eyes and really helped him at the quarterback position, too. He said he understood everything better because it gave him a different perspective. It helps him as much as it helps us."

WVU's Davis earns third freshman all-America nod http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629722 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629722 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:10:56 -0400 WVU baseball


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University second baseman Kyle Davis was named to Baseball America's 2015 Freshman All-America Team, the publication announced Monday. It is Davis' third All-America accolade, who previously earned recognition on the NWBCA and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America first teams.

Davis, an all-Big 12 second-teamer, led the Mountaineers with a .353 batting average and ranked third in the Big 12 with 17 doubles. He finished the season ranked fifth in hits and total bases and also finished inside the top 10 in slugging percentage and runs scored, posting a triple, four home runs and 31 RBIs.

Remaining WVU football season tickets go on sale http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629724 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629724 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:07:27 -0400 WVU football


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University will place remaining 2015 football season tickets on sale beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m. Season tickets for the seven-game home schedule are $395 each, and tickets in some sections require a contribution to the Mountaineer Athletic Club.

Season ticket orders can be made by visiting WVUGAME.com, by calling 1-800-WVU GAME or in person at the Mountaineer Ticket Office at the WVU Coliseum. Payment must be made by check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.

Big 12 hoops coaches have different takes on rule changes http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629727 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629727 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 22:54:37 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Steve Prohm is the new basketball coach at Iowa State, the school that has won the past two Big 12 tournament championships. He could have a preseason top-10 ranking when the time comes because Fred Hoiberg left a talented roster behind when he moved to the NBA's Chicago Bulls.

Prohm, the former Murray State coach, is not the one to ask about the new rules coming to college basketball.

"I don't think it's going to affect our team at all individually, the way we coach or the way we want to play," he said Monday on a teleconference with the Big 12 coaches. "If you watched our teams at Murray, we could get a couple shots up in 30 seconds."

Bill Self has helped Kansas win or share the past 11 Big 12 regular season titles, and if good players make the best teams, good players also make up the best offenses. With 19 NBA draft picks, Self isn't the one to talk to, either, about the impact of the shorter 30-second shot clock or the renewed focus on defense on the perimeter and in the post.

Self admits as much based on conversations he has had with Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who's been to consecutive Final Fours.

"I know that, to me, Wisconsin runs as good an offense as anyone in the country has the last couple of years, without question," Self said. "We were talking about stats and all that and Bo told me their average offensive possession was 21 seconds, and that's not a team that really scores a lot in transition, and he's the first to admit that. But his team runs unbelievable offense and averages a shot every 21 seconds. I think most teams will adjust."

Places where offense comes easy are not the places to go to gauge the effect change will have in the fall. It's the places where defense is the way to win or way or life or anything in between that figure to feel the impact most.

That would include West Virginia, where last season Bob Huggins brought back the press he once used at Cincinnati and then coached it to be played like he has never seen before on the say to he Sweet Sixteen.

There's something obvious to the idea a shorter shot clock will benefit the Mountaineers. It has to help a defense that forces an offense to tick away seconds and expend energy merely getting the ball across halfcourt before more time and energy is needed to run a set or get a shot.

It's just not that simple for WVU.

"We pressed to kind of speed people up. We needed to speed the game up and we needed to be able to score with numbers because we weren't a very good half-court team," Huggins said. "I don't think it helps. If we do what we did a year ago, I don't think it helps us at all."

The Mountaineers applied the pressure to make teams hurry and play far from a comfort zone. WVU would get live turnovers and transition opportunities where the other team was outnumbered or at a disadvantage. By the end of the game, WVU had enough extra possessions to make up for iffy execution.

A sport with shorter possessions and more of those possessions can condition teams to get used to the increased tempo and find comfort under duress. It's no different at Texas, which also has a new coach, and Shaka Smart brought with him the pressing style known as Havoc from Virginia Commonwealth University.

"It gives teams five less seconds to execute in the halfcourt if you can, through your press, get in the backcourt and force a team to take some time to set up and then keep them from getting into what they want to run," Smart said.

"To be honest with you, I don't know if five seconds is going to make a huge difference."

The Mountaineers and the Longhorns, meanwhile, put themselves at added risk for picking up fouls. Officials are charged with creating an atmosphere where perimeter players with or seeking the ball move freely. The essence of WVU's defense was to be obnoxious and foster a totally different environment.

"I don't think there's any question teams will play more zone," Huggins said.

That's not exactly welcome news for Huggins, not just because of his defense but because his offense could struggle against zones. For others, it could help. A year ago, Kansas State led the Big 12 in scoring defense in conference games. The Wildcats went 8-10 in the Big 12 and just 7-7 outside of the top-rated RPI league.

Kansas State played a variation of a pack-line defense, which isn't a zone but is instead a twist on man-to-man defense. The defender on the ball plays close and teammates sag of their assignments to protect the lane. Offenses struggle sending cutters through the lane cleanly or dribbling to the basket and then have to settle on jump shots.

"We're going to see more zones and more soft pressure, more 2-2-1, I think, so people will use up time," Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said. "We've talked to women's coaches and they said that was something that happened when they went to the 30-second shot clock. We'll have to see how everyone reacts to the 30 seconds and whether it's zones or help defense as teams try to get a shot off quicker."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU tight ends coach happy to be in Morgantown http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629840 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629840 Sun, 21 Jun 2015 21:59:18 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University football staff doesn't include a tight ends coach. Truth be told, the Mountaineers don't highlight the position in an offense that's nevertheless ranked in the top 10 nationally in passing three times in coach Dana Holgorsen's four seasons.

Dan Gerberry is working on all of that.

He's the 29-year-old graduate assistant in his first season with WVU, coming right after he was a full-time assistant coach at the Football Championship Subdivision's Youngstown State. His assignment is to coach the tight ends, and he's doing so free of distractions now during the summer workouts as he did during spring practice.

"When it comes to coaching the players, I have the full run," Gerberry said. "I have my own meeting room. When it comes to our players here at West Virginia, I'm their full-time coach. When it comes to what I can't do here at West Virginia, I can't leave campus for recruiting and stuff like that. That's where it's different, but I get to focus on doing the best I can with the opportunity I have."

Gerberry played four seasons at Ball State and was a senior in 2008 when the Cardinals went 12-0 in the regular season but lost the Mid-American Conference title game, lost coach Brady Hoke to Michigan and lost the GMAC Bowl to Tulsa. He was twice a team captain as the center and made first-team all-MAC in 2008. Gerberry made the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and was on the active roster at the end of the season.

He was with the Lions organization for four years and went to preseason camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, but was released before the season and joined the Youngstown State staff, not far from his home in Austintown, Ohio, as a volunteer assistant. A year later, he was on the actual coaching staff, but that staff was on the way out. The Penguins went 7-5 - losses by 11 points at Illinois, by six and three in overtime in Missouri Valley Conference play - and fired the head coach.

"You know what you're getting into with this career," Gerberry said. "It is what it is. The best coaches in the world get fired, and if you haven't been fired, you haven't been coaching long enough. I've been fortunate. I caught a bad break, but at the same time I've caught good breaks, too."

Gerberry married in February 2014. Less than a year later, he and wife Jaclyn's immediate future was as uncertain as the bouquet toss.

"There were a lot of nights with long conversations. 'What are my options? What are we going to do? What's best for us?,' " Gerberry said.

He found some possibilities and some found him. He said he never closed the door on any opportunity that would keep him in football and on his career path, but there were times when he and his wife would ask one another what was worthwhile.

"Every coach has to have that talk," Gerberry said. "There's a possibility that even great coaches will lose their jobs and not have another offer, so whether it's a tiny thing you have to think about, whether it's you can't move your family for a job offer or the offer just isn't really feasible, you have to at some point in your career sit down and look at your backup plan.

"Then the West Virginia offer came on the table, and it was a no-brainer. I would have been foolish to pass it up."

Gerberry doesn't have a lot of players in his room right now, and former Spring Valley star Elijah Wellman spends his time with the running backs after starting that transformation in the spring. It's a small group - he has five tight ends, Holgorsen has five quarterbacks - but it'll grow now and later.

For now, seniors Cody Clay - a former George Washington star - and Darren Arndt - a former Martinsburg standout - as well as junior C.J. Maduewesi, sophomore Michael Ferns and freshman from Morgantown High School, Stone Wolfley, hang on his words. Arndt and Maduewesi are new to the position after playing defense before the spring. Both are walk-ons. Ferns is a Michigan transfer who has to sit out this season. Wolfley has been on campus for a few weeks.

In the fall, WVU will welcome a pair of walk-ons, including Justin Cogar, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound high school quarterback from Westside High School who could have signed with Toledo and instead accepted a preferred walk-on invitation from the Mountaineers.

"Cody is obviously a very talented and intelligent player, and the future is bright for him," Gerberry said. "Darren Arndt, the player he is today compared to the player he was four years ago and to the player he was before the spring, is completely different. He's got a very good feel for the position. He's strong with a heavy body and when he pops somebody, they're going to feel it. We have high expectations for him, even though he just moved to the position, and for both of them."

Maduewesi is 6-9 and was born in Nigeria, and Gerberry believes he can handle a role on special teams. Ferns was a linebacker with the Wolverines, but Gerberry thinks he'll improve this season and transition smoothly to the position. As a recruit in 2014, Ferns was No. 211 on the Rivals 250.

"Obviously Stone is the youngest and I haven't had much time with him yet, but there are going to be expectations for him, whether that's giving us the best look he can on the scout team or going out on Saturday and competing," Gerberry said. "At this point, you can't say, but he knows the situation."

The Mountaineers mostly use their tight ends as blockers, and Arndt's strength as a former defensive lineman has helped him make the move, but they are moving pieces in the offense. They do block, but they block from varying positions on the field. Their versatility to handle different assignments is a key to the offense, how quickly it plays and how the defense says at a disadvantage.

"It's really a great position to coach because on one play you're lined up at receiver and the next play, without huddling, you're at tight end and the following play you're at fullback," Gerberry said. "It challenges not only the players, but the coach. As a coach, you have to be able to coach all those positions and know all the ins and outs and what they're doing. It's really unique, and it's a privilege that I have to be able to coach it here."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

College football early signing period proposal tabled by commissioners http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150617/DM03/150619320 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150617/DM03/150619320 Wed, 17 Jun 2015 21:31:00 -0400

the associated press

A decision to create an early signing period for college football has been put on hold until the entire recruiting process gets a comprehensive review.

At a meeting Wednesday of the Collegiate Commissioners Association in Asheville, North Carolina, FBS leaders decided to table for one year a proposed a 72-hour signing period for high school prospects in mid-December that would line up with the dates junior college players can sign.

The CCA administers the national letter of intent that recruits sign to make their verbal commitments to a school binding. There has been talk about changing when football players should be allowed to sign for years. Supporters say it will allow players who have made up their minds to remove themselves from the hassles of being recruited and give college coaches the chance to concentrate on players who are truly undecided.

Research by the committee that worked on the proposal found the vast majority of players who verbally commit to a college before their senior seasons end up signing with that college.

The early signing period would have gone into effect this season and started Dec. 16. The current signing period begins the Wednesday of the first full week of February.

Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, who led the early signing committee, said even though the majority of commissioners supported the proposal he was fine with a vote being deferred for one year. He said the commissioners want to allow the new NCAA football oversight committee to take a long, thorough look at recruiting.

"We had a subcommittee just on recruiting culture," Steinbrecher said.

The oversight committee, which is led by Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, is expected to examine an array of recruiting issues such as coaches signing more recruits than they can fit on the roster in anticipation of attrition, satellite camps, early enrollment and the influence of 7-on-7 football teams, especially those not run by high schools.

"It made sense to take a bigger look and do something from a global perspective instead of something that's just detailed," Steinbrecher said.

The Southeastern Conference was the only FBS leagues that came out publicly against the early signing proposal.

"Central to our concerns is that we often times deal with recruiting issues in isolation," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.

The SEC leaders object to an early signing period because they fear it could cause recruiting to intrude on the seasons of high school and college teams and force schools to make decisions on players before first semester academic information is available.

Sankey has said an early signing period would create a de facto new signing day.

"The indication is we are not alone in our concerns," he said.

Steinbrecher said he is still confident the proposal his committee put together will be put to a vote.

"I think the proposal is solid," Steinbrecher said. "If people want to have an early signing period, I think this is a fine time do to it. Frankly, I don't think there are a lot of options."

Mike Casazza: Burchett helps Holgorsen with many tasks http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150617/DM03/150619325 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150617/DM03/150619325 Wed, 17 Jun 2015 21:22:50 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - This is one of those questions that can't be answered without some time and one that's nevertheless discussed because there is so much time between now and the resolution. But did Dana Holgorsen, the West Virginia football coach on the verge of his fifth season in charge, spread himself too thin this offseason?

The answer is yes. And no. Mostly no. But it is true he's now the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, that after Shannon Dawson, who held those titles, moved along to the University of Kentucky. Holgorsen filled that hole on the staff with a defensive line coach and then hired a graduate assistant to replace Dawson.

That's a lot of ink on one business card, and the business of a head coach has him spinning in different directions all the time as it is.

But the reason Holgorsen hasn't jeopardized his offense and, by extension, his program is because of that graduate assistant. Michael Burchett, hired away from the school that hired away Dawson, knows the school, the offense and the coach. He had options, too, and options that might have been simpler.

Burchett, 23, could have followed Neal Brown as he made his move from Kentucky's offensive coordinator to Troy's head coach. Brown would have trusted Burchett to run quarterback drills in practice, but he'd have to work beneath a quarterbacks coach.

He could have stayed with the Wildcats, paired his bachelor's degree in mathematical economics with a master's in business administration and been reunited with Dawson, who was WVU's coordinator when Burchett was one of the backup quarterbacks in 2011. He would have kept living with his sister in a place a block or so from their brother. He would have been near his girlfriend in Lexington.

He instead picked the Mountaineers, a place he once knew, a place that technically didn't have an offensive coordinator or a quarterbacks coach. If that situation was a challenge, that challenge was inviting.

"It's exactly what I was looking for," Burchett said. "You always kind of play stuff out in your head and you try to figure out how you have to do things, but the coaching business is about getting breaks. A lot about getting started in college coaching is making the right moves, but sometimes things have to happen for you."

Holgorsen first met Burchett when the quarterback transferred from Kentucky before Holgorsen's first season. Burchett learned the offense and impressed the coaching staff, but he was impatient and left the Mountaineers following the Orange Bowl season and transferred to Division II Center College, not far from Lexington. He spent a semester there and wound up back at Kentucky to finish his degree.

The Wildcats hired Mark Stoops in December 2012 to be the head coach and he hired Brown. One day, Holgorsen called Burchett and asked if he was interested in coaching. Burchett said he was and Holgorsen lobbied Stoops and Brown to give Burchett a shot. Burchett was a success, because he's good at this and because the offenses are similar. That familiarity is why the Wildcats hired Dawson and why Holgorsen brought back Burchett this offseason.

It assured Holgorsen he could continue to call plays, something he did with Dawson on the staff, and work with the quarterbacks, which he hadn't done on his own his first four seasons with the Mountaineers, but that he could also step away at times to do things head coaches do and leave Burchett in charge.

"That's what was really appealing," Burchett said. "I know as the head coach and the offensive coordinator, he's got a lot of duties, so he'd want me drilling the quarterbacks. He told me he trusted me to do that and that's why he wanted me to come back."

Burchett can check on grades and meet with quarterbacks when the rules allow. During the summer workouts, which WVU is in the middle of now, the group watches film from spring practice and walks through concepts on the field.

Holgorsen is always around. He has enough experience on the staff to let other assistants do what they want while he coaches the quarterbacks or coordinates offense. Sometimes he has to be somewhere else when a quarterbacks meeting starts, though. Burchett starts and hands the room to the head coach when he enters. No time is wasted.

When practice starts next month, Burchett will run the quarterbacks through the drills as Holgorsen floats around the field. The installation and the live parts belong to Holgorsen, though Burchett can pull quarterbacks aside and counsel them.

"I think if anybody can handle it, it's him because of his personality," Burchett said. "He gets after it. He has confidence in himself because he's been successful everywhere he's been, so why wouldn't it be successful now? He's got great help around him, too. All the assistant coaches are on the same page now. They've got some continuity and he doesn't feel like he has to run to the other side of the building to check on things. That's what takes a the pressure off him and makes this work."

Kyzir White verbally commits to WVU http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150616/DM03/150619417 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150616/DM03/150619417 Tue, 16 Jun 2015 22:13:26 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Kyzir White, a safety at Lackawanna (Pa.) College, committed to West Virginia University Tuesday. He's the younger brother of former Mountaineers and current Chicago Bears receiver Kevin White and current WVU receiver Ka'Raun White. Kyzir's roommate at Lackawanna, tight end Trevon Wesco, committed to WVU last week.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound White has scholarship offers from Pitt, Louisville and Arizona State and was receiving increased attention from Missouri, Penn State and Syracuse. The Mountaineers were the first school to offer, and White said that meant the most to him through the process.

He said he plans to graduate next May and enroll at WVU soon thereafter with three years left to play two seasons.

"A lot of schools just offer you because the other offers you currently have, and they're not really as interested as they say they are," he said. "They just throw the offer out there and expect you to come, and they won't contact you or let you know how much you mean to the program or how much they want you.

"With West Virginia, I felt like once they offered me, there was constant communication. They let me know how good of a player I was and how much they needed me. The other schools that offered me or contacted me, I didn't have as great a relationship with them."

White, who credited WVU receivers coach Lonnie Galloway for fostering that friendly feeling, played all 10 games for the Falcons last season and finished with 34 tackles and an interception. He made third-team all-conference.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Former Musselman star uses junior college to land spot at WVU http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150616/DM03/150619422 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150616/DM03/150619422 Tue, 16 Jun 2015 21:24:22 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The story about Trevon Wesco could have been one to wonder what might have been.

Once among the best athletes in the state, he was a two-sport star at Musselman High and certain he was heading to a Division I program to play the sport of his choosing. An injury and academics instead re-routed him to Lackawanna (Pa.) College, where many who enter leave before they realize it's what they need.

"It is way, way different," he said. "It's hard, and if you're not disciplined, if you don't want to be disciplined, it's not the place for you. What they do, what they're all about, is getting you ready for the next level. If you put in the hard work, it definitely pays off."

Wesco figured that out pretty early, and he's changed his story so now people will pay attention to see what's next. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end committed to West Virginia University football program last week.

Wesco hopes to finally stand out the way he always thought he would.

"I always wanted to play football, even though everyone thought I was going to pick basketball just because my basketball career was so good," Wesco said. "I scored 1,500 points and led my school in rebounds and points and assists and broke all kinds of records, but I broke all the records in football, too."

Wesco was Class AAA first-team all-state with the Applemen basketball team and averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds as a senior in 2014. But at 6-foot-5 and 220 or so pounds, he was without a collegiate position. He wasn't quick enough to play shooting guard and he wasn't big enough to play in the frontcourt, but he was also tired of the game.

Size had never been an issue when he was playing football, and the sport always offered a challenge to energize him.

"I had more than 900 yards receiving when I was a junior and I have the record for 12 touchdowns that season," he said. "My senior year, I was going to be the first person to throw for 1,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards at quarterback."

He was on his way with more than 800 yards rushing and 700 yards passing during his final fall, but he tore the meniscus in one of his knees in the middle of the season.

"It was torn my freshman year and it kept tearing more and more all through the years of playing," he said.

He recovered in time to play basketball in the winter, but his grades remained an issue. He had Division I offers in both sports, but those disappeared once it was clear he wasn't going to qualify academically. He could have accepted offers from any of the Division II schools after him, but he knew he could spend the time at a junior college and transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Lackawanna, which previously sent the Mountaineers linebacker Josh Francis, offensive lineman Mark Glowinski, senior safety Dayron Wilson, receiver Kevin White and his brother, Ka'Raun, who enrolled in May, studied the tape. As good as Wesco looked in football, the basketball highlights convinced the Falcons he would be a success playing tight end in college.

Wesco didn't redshirt, a tactic Lackawanna uses on many prospects. He played behind two older players while adding about 40 pounds to his frame and caught five passes for 47 yards. The scholarship offers nevertheless rolled in, and Wesco, who started going to WVU games when he was in elementary school, jumped on the one from the Mountaineers.

"I didn't think it was going to happen so soon like that," said Wesco, whose roommate is Kevin and Ka'Raun White's younger brother, Kyzir, a safety who committed to WVU on Tuesday. "It was a crazy recruitment after only getting that amount of catches and having the two guys in front of me who ended up signing a scholarship somewhere. I didn't get a lot of playing time. I was learning about the level of play and the speed of the game that whole first semester, but now after the spring semester I've got a feel for it."

The two players ahead of him last season are now playing for an FCS and FBS team. The team's other tight end last year moved to defensive end. Wesco is the main figure at his spot.

The Mountaineers haven't thrown to the tight end much in Dana Holgorsen's four seasons - Tyler Urban had 20 catches in 2011, all the other tight ends have 22 since then - but senior Cody Clay is as valuable an offensive player as WVU has because of the way he blocks and the fact he can line up anywhere.

Wesco is fine with that role, but wonders what might be if he's allowed to do something else next.

"I like to catch and do stuff after the catch, but really I'll do whatever they want me to do," he sad. "They do want to use me as a vertical threat, and as a tight end I'm bigger than most receivers, but I'm not as fast. I can still catch the ball and go, so I like the receiving part of tight end, but I'm happy doing the blocking part if that's what they want."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU's MAC moves on to next phase of facility projects http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150614/DM03/150619619 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150614/DM03/150619619 Sun, 14 Jun 2015 21:12:14 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - There's nothing quite as grand as the basketball practice facility or the football program's weight room or team meeting room on the way, but the Mountaineer Athletic Club is working on the next wave of smaller items to benefit West Virginia.

The history of sparkling projects does make life easier for the athletic department's fundraising arm, though.

"We've got a ton of momentum with the projects we've completed over the last five or six years, and donors are excited about the progress," said Matt Borman, a senior associate athletic director and the MAC's executive director.

"We can walk them through some of the facilities and the renovations and the construction we've done the past few years and show them that when we do something at this point in the history of WVU athletics, it's going to be first-class and they're going to be proud to have their names associated with it."

The MAC's current priority is redesigning the football team's practice complex behind the indoor practice facility. The area features a grass field and extra space off to the side for drills. It's a $1.8 million job, and Borman said the money "came together pretty quickly" after the end of the season.

The grass practice field became a major area of concern last summer when players kept slipping and falling during a preseason practice. Some players said they were worried about their safety on the field. The Mountaineers didn't use the field again, though they don't practice there often because the grass wears quickly and doesn't recover.

Coach Dana Holgorsen has been critical of available practice space for far longer, though. The indoor facility doesn't have a regulation-sized field, and the building is narrow enough to create cramped practice conditions. Holgorsen also doesn't think teams should practice regularly in their home stadiums because it minimizes the novelty he believes should be reserved for a game day.

The new project won't fix all the concerns, but it should allow WVU to practice outside more.

"It's going to be pretty much the same space up there with a turf and grass combination," Borman said. "We want to try to get grass up there in some spot, maybe half the field, so we make sure that when we do play a game on a natural surface we have a place to practice."

Borman said that has to be finished in time for spring football next year, when WVU won't have access to Mountaineer Field because that's due to be renovated in the offseason. The Mountaineers will remove the crown beneath the playing surface and put down new artificial turf for the 2016 season.

That project, as well as the more significant concourse renovations, are being covered by the $106 million bond passed last year. The concourse project, which will create more space, more restrooms and concession areas and improved box seats, will likely require two offseasons to complete.

The football team's training room, which is typically a place WVU skips when giving recruits a tour, is also due for a $4 million renovation. The men's basketball team will have a complete renovation of its locker room. The corridor that leads to the men's and women's locker rooms will also be refurbished. That's a $1.25 million project, though Borman said one donor stepped forward to fund that alone.

In addition, the men's golf teams starts playing this fall, and the new sport is a new challenge for Borman and his team. There's a 2,000-square foot studio in the Coliseum that features a simulator and space for putting and chipping, and that was done without help from the MAC. The MAC's help is coming, though.

"A golf facility is definitely a priority," Borman said. "We need to get them a place to practice and hit balls and make sure it's an indoor facility so they can practice in the winter. We're still trying to locate a site (off campus), and the price is going to be somewhere between $2-3 million, but we're looking forward to getting started on that."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU's Miles has sights set on the future http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150611/DM03/150619783 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150611/DM03/150619783 Thu, 11 Jun 2015 19:23:40 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Summer school started Monday at West Virginia. After four weeks at home in Baltimore, Md., Daxter Miles is back on campus and back in the gym with his teammates on the basketball team, which is to say things are back to normal.

Then again, normal is hardly normal anymore for Miles. He started as a freshman last season, a season that saw him score 23 points in Phog Allen Fieldhouse and help the Mountaineers to the Sweet Sixteen. The season ended there and Miles was, to say the least, in the middle of it all even though he played 19 minutes without scoring a point.

It was his commentary the day before the loss to Kentucky, innocent in his mind, dangerous in the hands of others, that served as the headline. Miles said the Mountaineers would be the first team to beat the first team to start a season 37-0, and that became the story before the story. It was content for commentators and inspiration for the opposition, but it's no longer on his mind.

"It's over and in the past, and I can't really do anything about it except move on and think about the future," Miles said Thursday. "All I can do is get me and my team better for this year and try to do the best I can this year."

Miles hadn't been to Baltimore since the season ended in Cleveland. His friends and his family from Charm City could put him at ease in person after the game or over the phone in the time that followed, but being in their presence was different. It was better.

"Nobody brought any negativity to me," he said. "They know what I'm capable of as a basketball player, and they know how I am, so it was basically love all around. It was great to surround myself with a lot of positive people.

"I'd never had a break that long in college, so it was fun to be around my people outside the team and outside Morgantown and to be around my family and to enjoy my friends and play basketball freely instead of having to obsess about every little thing."

Life there was as he remembered it. His friends were fun. His family was welcoming. Those were the people he loved to be around, and it was refreshing to know they hadn't changed. It was a reminder he needed to remain the same, too.

Miles wants to have fun playing basketball and to get the most out of his opportunity with the Mountaineers. He won't shrink into a shell. He isn't hiding from interviews. He worries only about being better the next time he's in a WVU uniform.

"I'm going to be the same person I always have been," he said. "Of course I'm going to make changes to my game to better myself and help my teammates, but as far as everything else, I'm still Dax. The only people I have to answer to are God and my coaches and teammates. If it's not those guys, I really don't care. I'm here to play for them."

The offseason has brought about some challenges for the 6-foot-3 Miles, who averaged 7.3 points per game and made 19 of 39 3-point shots at the end of the season to surge to 35.1 percent. Offense has never been a question for Miles, though. He averaged 22 points per game in prep school the year before and 15 points as a high school senior at Dunbar High, which he led to a state championship with the game-winning basket in 2013.

Defense was a different deal last year, because the emphasis was new. He'd been asked to score before, but everyone had to guard for the pressing Mountaineers. Miles understood that right away, so much so that when coach Bob Huggins asked for his five starters at the first practice, no one flinched when Miles joined the group.

Now, though, the rules are different and things figure to be harder. Defenders won't be allowed to make much contact on the perimeter, where Miles hounds and harasses opponents. Guarding the ball for five seconds no longer results in a turnover. Charges are permitted in a space smaller now than before.

Miles doesn't plan on letting that change him, either.

"I don't know how I feel about this one, but I'm going to play the game and we're going to play the game the only way we know how," he said. "I don't like my player scoring on me. Anybody can say he can score, but who's going to stop that guy on the other team from scoring the ball? Basketball is about scoring points, so if you can score points you're going to win, but if you can stop the other team from scoring, you're going to win, too."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Mike Casazza: Defense becoming extinct with new rules http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150610/DM03/150619897 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150610/DM03/150619897 Wed, 10 Jun 2015 21:08:59 -0400 MORGANTOWN - The Big East handed out its annual basketball awards on the eve of the 2002 conference tournament and honored Providence guard John Linehan as the defensive player of the year for the second straight season.

The other award winners thanked Linehan for graduating and taking his irritating on-the-ball defense with him.

Linehan was a 5-foot-9 nuisance, and he still owns the NCAA record for career steals (385) and shares the Big East record for steals in a game (11) with former West Virginia guard Drew Schifino. Point guards hated opposing Linehan, not because they knew there would be times he'd steal the ball, but because and they knew there would never be a time he wasn't trying to steal the ball.

What would Linehan's reputation be be today? (This might be bad timing because he might be starting for the Cleveland Cavaliers). The hunch is that it wouldn't be great. Linehan was never a gifted offensive player. He didn't score more than 1,000 points in his career or 387 points in a season. He shot 40 percent from 2-point range and 35 percent from 3-point range.

He was a dynamic defensive player, but there seems to be no room for someone like that in today's college game. The NCAA is busy this offseason changing rules and shifting the focus of its officials. It's all supposed to improve scoring, and the NCAA has succeeded because it's discouraging defense into an endangered state.

Here's a serious question: Why in the world would you aim to be a great defensive player now? The evolution of the game makes that seem like an impossible dream.

The block/charge rule has been redefined again, and the restricted area under the basket is a foot farther out on the floor now, which gives defenders even less space to call their own. Offensive players dribbling and cutting will be protected like never before. Whistles will rule against the broadly termed and completely undefined "physicality" in the post. You can't even get a 5 second call anymore.

Defending your space near the basket, whether with a charge or a stout chest to the back of a brutish opponent in the post, is good defense. Guarding the ball so well for so long that it disrupts the game and triggers a 5 seconds turnover is good defense. It's all being pushed out of the game, which thus creates the illusion of more offense.

There's little incentive to be a great defender, unless you're in the neighborhood of 7 feet, and not everyone is. It's apparent offense is more important and practice time is better spent getting in extra shots than getting in a defensive stance.

Officials are going to call more fouls, yet the NCAA didn't move to let players play with five fouls and foul out on the sixth. So with new norms and greater enforcement, a player can still only play with four and must depart on five - though the NCAA agreed to experiment with that change in the postseason, which at least is a better gesture than giving defenders handcuffs and leg shackles in the regular season.

A game leaning toward offense sends a bad message to players.

West Virginia's Jevon Carter, who made the Big 12's all-defense team as a freshman last year, committed himself to defense when he was growing up on the blacktop courts on the west side of Chicago. He was always among the smallest or the youngest players, but he was trying to get picked and then win the game to stay on the court. Everyone could score because everyone was a high school, college or pro star, so Carter decided he'd try to keep people from scoring.

Daxter Miles came to WVU last season with a defense allergy. He'd never really played defense through the years in Baltimore because he never had to play it. He liked to score, but he'd learn to love defense and what it could do for him in the Mountaineers press.

What's their future? What's the future of the next wave of players like them?

Critics, be they pundits or participants, moan about how high school and AAU basketball don't prepare players properly. A high school coach won't often put his team at risk by asking his best player to guard the other team's best player because his best player can't score while on the bench in foul trouble. That best player is then slow to transition to college defense. AAU basketball is a track meet that's long contributed to the shrinking population of perimeter defenders and low-post scorers.

Those are problems, and the only thing that will change is the severity. There may still be exceptions, but they're inching toward extinction.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU wrestling coach making constant connections http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150609/DM03/150609184 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150609/DM03/150609184 Tue, 9 Jun 2015 22:20:10 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Sammie Henson spent Monday working at a wrestling camp in Wichita, Kan., something he's done many times now through the years. A cavalcade of camps from one side of the country to another isn't unusual for West Virginia's wrestling coach or his peers.

This is how the get out in front of prospective wrestlers and how wrestlers get to know potential head coaches.

"You're not out there recruiting necessarily, but being seen and going around to different states, that's how we meet people and make connections," Henson said from the road. "If you're not out there doing this and putting in the miles on the road, you're going to be behind. The game's all about connections and getting to know coaches and getting to know kids."

Henson is quite literal about this. He's trekking from camps in Kansas and California, back at WVU and later in Texas with his two sons, Jackson and Wyatt.

"You can get caught up working a lot," Henson said. "For me right now, it's more about spending time with my kids."

They go from one camp to another, by car and by plane, as Henson reconnects with coaches he's known for ages and maybe even meets wrestlers he'll get to know in his corner of campus in a few years.

"It's fun to go visit different places and have that experience with your sons," he said. "I like to travel and wrestling is obviously important to me, but it's not just about the recruiting. I've done this for a long time now, really since after college when I was training for the Olympics. It started out as a way to subsidize my living and subsidize my training and it's expanded as a coach, but now it's about traveling with my sons and spending this time with them."

Something else is different for Henson - and not just the new NCAA mandate that coaches may no longer promote where and when they'll be traveling to work at camps. When Henson was introduced in Kansas and when he's introduced at the next camp and each to follow, he'll have a new title: National Wrestling Hall of Famer.

Henson was inducted on Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.

"It's not something you ever set out to do," said Henson, who's between his first and second seasons at WVU. "It's weird, but it's not an award you're really worried about. You worry about being a national champ or a world champ or an Olympic champ and doing the best can and having a great career, but I guess that's happens when you get old."

Henson, a two-time unbeaten NCAA champion at Clemson who won gold and bronze world championship medals and a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics, was inducted as a Distinguished Member. It's an honor reserved for wrestlers who have "achieved extraordinary success in national and/or international competition."

The organization can also welcome a coach as a Distinguished Member if he "has demonstrated great leadership in the profession and has compiled an outstanding record." A contributor can be enshrined if "long-term activities have substantially enhanced the development and advancement of the sport."

Henson's only getting started there. After 17 years as an assistant, the 2014 season was his first as a head coach. Henson was named the nation's rookie coach of the year by Amateur Wrestling News. The Mountaineers beat two ranked teams and qualified four wrestlers for the national championships, including freshman Zeke Moisey, who was the runner-up at 125 pounds.

Henson is also the founder of the still-new Mountaineer Regional Training Center, which aims to attract the country's elite wrestlers as they prepare for competitions, as well as the head coach of Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club. It's generated the most world team and Olympic team wrestlers in the nation.

Included in that count are both of Henson's assistants. Danny Felix made the 2009 U.S. World Championship team. Nick Marable is the nation's top-ranked wrestler at 70 kilograms (154 pounds), and he represented the country at the United World Wrestling World Championships last year.

On Sunday, Marable, from Memphis, was named Tennessee's male professional athlete of the year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

"Not every college athlete has that kind of support system and has those connections, so I think it's powerful to have them say, 'I can go there and realize my dreams in college wrestling, but I can also be coached by coach Henson, coach Felix and coach Marable, who've all been on world rosters,'" Henson said.

Henson coached Felix and Marable at Sunkist, but he recruited both last year. Henson was hired in May 2014 and retained Felix, who was on the Mountaineers staff the previous four years, and hired Marable, who had been a volunteer assistant with Henson at Missouri. Henson also hired Clarissa Chun as his operations assistant, and she, too, went from Sunkist to a world championship roster. Chun won an Olympic bronze medal in London in 2012 and gold at the Pan American Games in 2008-10 and 2012.

Henson's recruiting hasn't slowed since. His second recruiting class - and the first he and his staff could devote a full year to - is ranked No. 5 by Flo Wrestling.

"When I was at Oklahoma, my first year we had the No. 2 recruiting class in the country," he said. "My first year at Missouri we had the No. 2 recruiting class in the country. We've done it before.

"It was a lot of hard work by the staff and our athletic department and everybody behind the scenes, from academics to the strength coach and the nutritionist. We bought them in and made sure we showed them what we had to offer. I think what impressed them most was showing them the family atmosphere we had."

Of the 12 signees, Austin Myers, Connor Flynn and Keegan Moore won national titles in April. The class also features a four-time state champion, two three-time state champions and four state runners-up this year. The recruits are from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Georgia and Idaho. Each is already enrolled in summer classes.

"Just because I've lived and coached in so many different parts of the country, I know coaches in Pennsylvania like I know coaches in California and Missouri," said Henson, an assistant at Missouri, Oklahoma, Cal Poly, Nebraska, Army and Penn State. "I honestly think we can go after the best kid in the country, no matter where he is."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His bl0g is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Lamont West moves in quickly to Morgantown http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150608/DM03/150609254 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150608/DM03/150609254 Mon, 8 Jun 2015 22:25:48 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Lamont West does not like to waste time.

He felt like he was stuck at Cincinnati's Withrow High and that his basketball career was suffering because he wasn't getting the challenge or the exposure he desired. He decided to transfer, which isn't uncommon among elite and eager players, but West didn't move across town or to a new city. He moved to Miller Grove High, in Lithonia, Ga.

"Ninth grade wasn't good at all. Tenth grade wasn't good at all. Eleventh grade wasn't good at all," West said. "The school I was at was good, but the teams we played weren't that good. We played maybe two or three good teams and we played some of them two times. I never felt like every day I had to go out and work hard to win. We had lots of blowouts."

In Georgia, West was part of a regional championship team that lost in overtime of the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. West averaged 17.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game and made first-team all-county and honorable mention all-state.

On Monday, he enrolled at West Virginia. Naturally, the last part of the 2015 recruiting class was with the first group of recruits to get into summer school.

"I think I'm an ambitious person," West said. "I know I got a late start with basketball, but I know if you put in the work, it doesn't matter when you start."

West, a forward who enrolled with point guard and fellow freshman James "Beetle" Bolden, did not play basketball when he was younger. That changed one day when West finally gave in to constant pestering from Keith Braswell, something of a local legend in Cincinnati who made his name at Dayton in the early 1990s as a 4-foot-11 walk-on.

"He basically threw me on the court one day, so I had to try it," West said. "I wasn't really good at the start, but I liked it right away, and then I started getting more serious about it."

West decided he'd be good and get a college scholarship. That meant taking a chance and leaving Withrow, which produced WVU's Devin Williams before he too transferred for his senior year and won a national championship at a prep school in Florida.

"I wasn't getting the attention I knew I needed, so I went to Georgia and we played a national schedule there," West said, hiding the fact Miller Grove finished 27-4 and was unbeaten in its region during the regular season.

"It basically put me on the next level playing against good competition, against players going to Kentucky and Auburn every night. We had John Calipari and all the coaches at our games either to see us or the other team. I started getting offers from Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul. I had a lot of offers."

West said he picked the Mountaineers because he's friends with Bolden, he likes how coach Bob Huggins has developed Williams and "I just felt like West Virginia can best prepare me for the NBA."

West graduated May 16 and returned home to Cincinnati. On most days, he was at the gym at 7 a.m., sometimes with Bolden, to work on his body or his game. He's 6-foot-9 and 205 pounds, and West and 6-8 Ohio player of the year Esa Ahmad give Huggins a presence on the wing he hasn't been able to feature since joining the Big 12.

"I'm very versatile," West said. "I dribble really well and I can shoot really well. If I get a little person one me, I can post him up. If I get a big person on me, I can get around him and go to the basket."

Ahmad, the first player to commit to the 2015 class, and junior college guard Teyvon Myers are both expected to arrive on campus later this month and then enroll in summer classes.

n n n

SUMMER WORKOUTS, which allow for up to eight hours a week for eight weeks, started June 1 for WVU's football team. A dozen freshmen enrolled Monday in time to join the second week of workouts.

Receivers Gary Jennings and Jovon Durante, offensive linemen Rob Dowdy, Matt Jones, Colton McKititz and Jah'Shaun Seider, tight end Stone Wolfley, defensive linemen Adam Shuler and Alec Shriner, linebacker David Long, cornerback Jordan Adams and safety Kevin Williams joined six other players from the 2015 recruiting class who enrolled in January or May.

Additionally, Ripley offensive lineman Bradley Knotts, Lewis County linebacker Ross Harvey and Springboro (Ohio) receiver D.L. Knock enrolled as invited walk-ons. Knotts was honorable mention Class AA all-state in 2014 and Harvey made the second team. The 5-foot-8 Knock, who won an MVP award at a WVU camp last summer, made the second team in Division I.

Adams' brother Jacquez, Martinsburg safety Deamonte Lindsay, cornerback Tyrek Cole, junior college cornerback Rasul Douglas and junior college defensive end Xavier Pegues are the only players who signed in February and haven't enrolled. Any of them can arrive for the start of the next summer session at the end of the month or later before the start of preseason practice.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Mountaineers take place on world stage at Women's World Cup http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150604/DM03/150609556 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150604/DM03/150609556 Thu, 4 Jun 2015 21:42:44 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - There are occasions to savor and ways to remember them, and there's a picture in the annals of West Virginia women's soccer that preserves the program's upset win against top-ranked Stanford in 2012.

The scoreboard has just rolled to all zeroes, confirming WVU did just enough with five shots on goal to earn a 1-0 result. The players on the sideline are erupting from behind the white line to swarm their 11 teammates on the pitch, but the coach will not join them so quickly. Nikki Izzo-Brown is still down in her trademark crouch, sunglasses and a ball cap masking her emotions, her right hand covering what's probably a smile.

That's not unusual for coaches who need more than expired time to be convinced a game is over and it's safe to celebrate. Izzo-Brown would wait a bit before she could enjoy it, before she could embrace the program's first win against a No. 1-ranked team and one of the very best moments in the career of one of the sport's very best coaches.

"It's hard, but I've always said coaching is a way of life," Izzo-Brown said Tuesday. "I had to giggle talking to someone the other day, but I'm watching the hockey game and I'm trying to figure out how the Rangers can win, and I'm breaking down the other team."

Her job will be a little easier this weekend as she encounters another memorable event in her 20 years with the Mountaineers. Izzo-Brown will be a spectator in Canada on Saturday watching a pair of WVU players represent their school as well as their nation in the Women's World Cup. Defender Kadeisha Buchanan and midfielder Ashley Lawrence, both rising juniors, are on the Canadian roster, and the host team opens the event by playing China at 6 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

"I'll definitely try to look at them and see where I can help them improve, but this is more about me watching them and enjoying their play," said the coach, who will travel to Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband and their three daughters. Many of the Mountaineers will make the trip on their own.

"Obviously I'll analyze them, but the good news is I don't have to think about their opponent or how to break them down. It'll be a much different experience than watching them at Dick Dlesk (Stadium.)."

Izzo-Brown has been involved for years with the Unites States national team and has been a training camp assistant for the under-23, -20 and -18 squads but had never had a World Cup player at WVU. She has, though, recruited a list of offensive and defensive stars from Canada through the years. Buchanan and Lawrence, who have been involved with their national team since December 2012, give Izzo-Brown different and distinguished reasons to cherish their spots.

Buchanan is a starter at center back and the two-time Big 12 defender of the year - and that includes her debut season, when she was the league's freshman of the year.

"I'm a pretty humble person and a pretty humble coach," Izzo-Brown said, "but I will go on the record and say she will be the best center back to ever play the game."

Izzo-Brown is adamant about this, and she's consistent in supporting her point.

"As incredibly gifted as Kevin White is and some of the guys who come through the football program here, she is just as athletic, just as incredibly talented as Tavon (Austin) and Geno (Smith) and all the other greats we've had at this level," she said.

Buchanan, who scored on a header that got past United States goalie Hope Solo in a 1-1 draw in May 2014, is a star up north. Canada decided to feature Buchanan, the 2013 under-20 national player of the year, on a commemorative World Cup Stamp with forward Christine Sinclair, the nation's most experienced and most accomplished player.

"I don't know anybody on a stamp that's alive, and it doesn't even phase her," Izzo-Brown said of Buchanan, who has two goals and 35 appearances (32 starts) with the national team.

Lawrence's success story is different, but it's a tale of triumph. She's yet to score in 18 appearances and four starts, and she went from seven appearances in 2013 to three last year and back to seven and three starts this year.

"With Canada, we went back and forth some, and they thought maybe she was better off at a different position," Izzo-Brown said. "Not to say I was right, but I truly believed Ashley was a midfielder by trade and I stuck by that. These past two seasons, she's had a great opportunity to show Canada she can be an impact on the field for them, so I'm real happy she's been able to showcase her trade and her talent and also get better as a player."

Lawrence, a captain for Canada's 2012 World Cup under-17 team, had four goals and four assists as a freshman in 2013 and was first-team all-conference. Last season, she repeated that honor and finished with four goals and seven assists.

Canada's final match in group play is June 15, but Izzo-Brown would rather not have two of her best players back on campus or a while longer. Knockout play begins June 20 with the round of 16. The quarterfinals begin June 26, the semifinals begin June 30 and the championship match is July 5.

The Mountaineers, who have won three Big 12 regular season titles and two tournament championships in their three years in the league, open the 2015 season with an Aug. 9 exhibition.

"It's great for us because a player of that level sees she can come to West Virginia and get even better," Izzo-Brown said. "Kadeisha left West Virginia last spring around this time and went off to play and within three days she scores on Hope Solo. She was vastly improved after that spring, and now she's on a stamp.

"That was a proud moment for me and for our program to know that Kadeisha got better and she proved that by scoring at a high level. I know Kadeisha and Ashley will endorse the fact that West Virginia is a place to go to and a place where you will get better."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Chuck McGill: Covich builds WVU golf program from ground up http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150604/DM03/150609558 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150604/DM03/150609558 Thu, 4 Jun 2015 21:37:44 -0400 By Chuck McGill CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Sean Covich, the man hired to lead the rebirth of the West Virginia University men's golf program, sent a text message to his wife last week. It was Wednesday, May 27, and Covich realized it was the anniversary of his introductory press conference in Morgantown.

"I can't believe it's been one year," Covich messaged to his wife.

And it'll still be another four months before the Meridian, Miss., native and the Mountaineers make their debut.

Covich is spending the 472-day wait between his date of hire and the 2015 season opener building a program from scratch. There was no home course, no players, no indoor facility, no golf van. He has checked all those items off his to-do list as he prepares for Missouri Tiger Turningstone Invitational on Sept. 6-7.

"There's been so much to figure out," he said. "Like where you're going to practice, who is going to be here playing. I really didn't have a game plan to get transfers in here, but it just worked out to get some seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen. That was my goal, to not have eight or nine freshmen that first year."

The roster is taking shape. He has players from neighboring states Pennsylvania and Ohio, and of course he is mining the Mountain State for talent. He is looking abroad, and players from Canada, Korea and Australia are in the fold.

"I searched under any and every rock," Covich said.

The hometowns of Covich's first two waves of recruits cannot be overlooked. The Morgantown climate is a hurdle he must clear in wooing golfers who want to play year-round. Golfers from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada developed their games in spite of that.

"I've been focusing on Canada because we are warmer to them," Covich said. "We've had success with that ... hopefully we can kind of get a pipeline going there. I've got players from Ohio and Pennsylvania because they understand the region and the temperature and they've gotten good even though they've been up north.

"They're not scared of it."

He needs golfers who aren't scared of anything.

Covich isn't cutting corners or softening the schedule. There are five nationally ranked programs in the Big 12, and the league has produced PGA Tour stars like Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who played at Texas, Baylor golfer-turned-pro Jimmy Walker and former Oklahoma State star Rickie Fowler. Spieth and Walker are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in PGA Tour earnings this year.

"Come play against the best," Covich said of his pitch to recruits.

The Mountaineers will play six events in the fall and seven in the spring. One of the fall highlights is the inaugural Mountaineer Intercollegiate, which will be held Oct. 19-20 at Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport. WVU will host Marshall, Penn State, Missouri, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, St. John's, Seton Hall, Towson, Akron, Toledo, Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio) that weekend.

"I wanted the best schedule we could get," Covich said.

That is, afterall, part of the selling point. Student-athletes can come help Covich lay the foundation for a program that has been dormant since 1982, a 33-year hiatus from Division I golf. The playing time is there for the taking. WVU has brokered deals with seven area golf courses to call home.

Now Covich can show off a 2,000-square foot indoor facility at the WVU Coliseum. The golf studio features an indoor golf simulator with the latest TrackMan technology, an indoor putting green and areas for chipping.

It is a place to take refuge during a snowstorm or bitter cold spell.

"It gives us a place to chip and putt and hit some balls," Covich said. "It's not only for when it's cold and snowing, but if it's 10 o'clock and they want to go in there and work on putting, have at it. It's 365 days a year. That's huge because obviously it snows, so if I can sell a recruit that it doesn't matter what it is - rain, snow, light, dark - you can come here and get better."

Covich spent the winter months showcasing how golfers can get better year-round in Morgantown. He is an avid user of Instagram, where has posted hundreds of photos during his time as an assistant coach at Mississippi State and head coach at WVU. He posts photos of the Mountaineers' home courses, the new indoor facility and images of his players hitting golf balls inside places like the WVU football team's indoor practice facility.

Programs like Illinois, ranked in the top five nationally this past season, Ohio State, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Penn State have shown Covich the blueprint for a northern golf program. He knows he can assemble the talent to compete in the Big 12 and with southern-based programs.

In his introductory press conference last May, Covich said he wanted to win "right away." He can't believe it has been a year since that day, but he can't wait to finally tee it up.

Former WVU hoops players Gansey, West meet in NBA finals http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150603/DM03/150609666 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150603/DM03/150609666 Wed, 3 Jun 2015 20:40:24 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The Golden State Warriors haven't been to the NBA Finals since winning the world championship in 1975. The Cleveland Cavaliers have only been to the Finals once since they were founded in 1970, and they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Jonnie West or Mike Gansey won't have to wait too long to celebrate.

West is in his third season in the Golden State organization and his first as the assistant general manager of the NBA Developmental League's Santa Cruz Warriors. Gansey is in his fourth season with the Cavaliers and his third season as the director of development league operations with the Canton Charge.

The former West Virginia University basketball players are among the many who are happy to end the eight-day wait and begin the best-of-seven series at 9 p.m. Thursday on ABC.

"I think it is and it isn't a coincidence that two people separated by such a short period of time at the same school end up doing the same thing and opposing one another in the Finals, but it's something that we both love and that we've both been involved in for so long," West said last week from his home in California.

Only two Developmental League teams have made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons: the Warriors and the Charge. The Warriors won the league championship this season.

"They've actually been to the finals the first year and this is the first year Santa Cruz won it, but they're obviously doing something right because they're always there at the end, and Jonnie's a big reason why," Gansey said from Ohio last week. "It's just ironic to have two of the better teams in the NBA have two of the best D-League teams, too."

Gansey, a 2006 graduate, stepped away from professional basketball in 2011 and started in the organization as the Cavaliers' basketball operations seasonal assistant. He was promoted after the 2012 season and now works with the Charge head coach and the Cleveland general manager on all matters involving basketball operations.

West, a 2011 graduate, was working with a sports agency when he realized helping players prepare for the NBA draft made him yearn for a front office role. He was brought in by the Warriors and worked in 2012-13 as a scout preparing for future opponents and evaluating potential acquisitions. Last season he was the team's director of player personnel. His third season in pro basketball was his first in charge of managing a franchise.

"I think something a lot of people might say is that I only had two years of experience, but I think that's kind of far from the truth because of how I grew up around this game," said West, whose father Jerry starred at East Bank High School and WVU before becoming an NBA legend and a team consultant on Golden State's executive board.

"It's something I've been learning about from an early age, something I've been learning about from one of the best, if not the best. I can remember being 8 or 10 years old and being in the draft room with my dad and seeing how he did things. This is something I've been around for a long time."

Both Developmental League clubs helped their NBA parent teams. Former North Carolina star James Michael McAdoo was an all-star with Santa Cruz and was called up twice by Golden State before he signed for the remainder of the season upon his third trip in February. Seven-footer Ognjen Kuzmin floated between the two teams as well, and West said the Bosnian "has definitely turned himself into, I think, an NBA rotational player and not just somebody who's considered a prospect."

Gansey has more time in his role and a longer list of contributions to his NBA team. This season, former Virginia star Joe Harris played 51 games with the Cavs in the regular season, but was with the Charge throughout the season and for all five playoff games. Center Alex Kirk was playing for the Charge before he was part of a trade that sent him to the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Kirk and he re-signed with the Charge and helped in the playoffs.

In the 2013-14 season, the Charge produced five players who earned spots on NBA rosters, including former WVU all-American Kevin Jones. The team's head coach and an assistant were called up by NBA teams, too. A year before that, Jones earned his first NBA call-up and the Charge had one league all-star while the head coach and an executive were promoted to NBA assignments.

"We have very similar taste in the guys we want," West said. "I think we're both very fortunate to have NBA organizations that do care about our league and want to use it as a tool and not just for show. They actually put money into it and realize it can be beneficial. The main thing about the D-League is you have to find a certain mix of talent and high character and young and veteran guys, and that's something both organizations have done."

West, who played on the 2010 Final Four team with the Mountaineers, said it "would be a lifelong goal to be a part of an NBA championship organization," particularly because of his is relationship with his father and his job last year working with the players who make up the core of this roster.

Gansey, who is married with a newborn daughter, has equally strong emotions about a title after reaching the Elite Eight in 2005 and the Sweet Sixteen a year later. His brother Steve is an assistant coach with the Charge and both are Cleveland natives who know the tortured history of a city that hasn't won championship since 1964.

"It would be a dream come true," he said. "Working for an organization that wins a championship would be a blessing, but being from Cleveland maybe gives it more meaning, I guess, than it would for another organization. You don't know when you're going to get back to the Finals. It's been a while for us and we had some tough years before this year, so you've got to cherish the moment.

"But at the same time, you do want to win it all. Winning it for Cleveland, which hasn't won a championship in so long, I just couldn't imagine what it'd mean for the city and the fans. It'd be a dream come true for so many people if it happened."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Bosch's eligibility adds to WVU's deep offensive line http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150602/DM03/150609786 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150602/DM03/150609786 Tue, 2 Jun 2015 21:25:11 -0400 By Mike Casazza By MIKE CASAZZA


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Last week, Ron Crook learned the NCAA was granting immediate eligibility to a former four-star offensive line recruit who transferred to West Virginia in January. That was welcome news for the Mountaineers offensive line coach.

Crook was then able to call Kyle Bosch and revel in the ruling, an especially enjoyable occasion for the coach and the player who have known one another since Bosch was in high school.

The best part of the ordeal for Crook was what Bosch's addition for the 2015 season does to the depth chart: Almost nothing.

"We were in a pretty good position with our depth before, but obviously this helps," Crook said. "Did we jump from one spot in the Big 12 to another because of this? Probably not."

Oh, Bosch is good enough to play and wired in a way that suggests success at one of the inside positions. Yet after a lot of time and effort recruiting and retooling a roster, the Mountaineers sport a combination of quality and quantity they've long sought. With 12 offensive linemen on scholarship - and four more recruits on their way to campus - the situation is strong enough that a player as renowned as Bosch can't simply show up and take a starting spot or even a rotation spot.

"I really don't think this changes anything about where we are right now," said Crook, two seasons in as the line coach. "Our approach all along was if he makes it, then it's a bonus. The way we approach it right now is he made it, and now we have that bonus, which is great. If things progress for him and if he deserves to be on the field - whether as one of the best five we have or No. 6 or No. 7 or whatever - he'll be out there.

"The biggest thing this does for us is give us another body who has some pretty high-profile experience at this level."

Bosch, who is off limits to the media because he's newly enrolled, is from St. Charles, Ill., and was a regarded recruit in his state and in the Midwest in the recruiting class of 2013. He signed with the University of Michigan and held scholarship offers from throughout the major conferences, including WVU and Stanford, where Crook was the offensive tackles/tight ends coach.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Bosch started three games and played in two others as a true freshman in 2013 and then played in the opener as a sophomore before citing personal reasons for taking a leave of absence from the program. Bosch returned to Ann Arbor, Mich., in early January and met with new Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh. He told the Sporting News that Harbaugh said Bosch could stay with the program under certain conditions or transfer.

He soon landed at WVU, and the Mountaineers promptly applied for his eligibility. He'll have three years left to play three seasons, and WVU already has an idea what he can do.

Crook treated Bosch in spring practice as though he'd be eligible in the fall. If the NCAA approved, Bosch would be on pace with his peers. If the NCAA declined, Bosch would have an idea what WVU wanted. He could use that to get through the year he'd have to sit out, when he'd get minimal reps and only during an open week and the time between the end of the regular season and the bowl game.

"He did as well as you could do in those circumstances where you're coming into a new situation and trying to learn new terminology and a new playbook and new techniques, just like a freshman coming in when everything is new," Crook said. "The difference is he's played at this level already, so he was a little further along physically than other guys who are stepping into it for the first time."

Despite his size, Bosch didn't do much at the tackle spots in the spring, even with junior Adam Pankey moving from left tackle to left guard. Bosch, who snapped a little just to get a feel for that skill, ended up behind Pankey, and that was before Tyler Tezeno announced he was transferring.

"He plays with the kind of mentality you want to see in an offensive lineman," Crook said. "He's a physical player who comes off the ball and delivers a blow. He's big and strong and all those things you look for in a football player. But the one thing I think he's learned a little more lately is football is something that's really important to him. It's something he'd have a very difficult time being without."

Crook has redshirt freshman Yodny Cajuste, who was a first-team player before breaking a finger late in the spring, and senior Russell Haughton-James, who was arrested and charged with burglary last month, at left tackle. Junior Tyler Orlosky is the presumed starter at center and senior Stone Underwood is the backup. Junior Tony Matteo and sophomore Grant Lingafelter will continue their battle at right guard throughout the summer and senior Marquis Lucas is ahead of sophomore Marcel Lazard at right tackle.

None of that is cemented. One player could be the backup at both guard or tackle spots or a starter at one position might slide to the other side because his backup is too good to keep on the sideline. Competitions in camp might produce new starters and new names could give the coaches fresh ideas. A lot can change, and Bosch's presence merely means Crook can consider more possibilities now than he could before.

"There's going to be some shuffling in preseason camp, and I'm sure we'll look at a bunch of different scenarios, mainly because we've got to have answers if we have injuries or if we see something we like," Crook said. "I'm not saying we're going to change our approach for the first day now, but certainly there will be a point when we move some things around just to look at different things as we try to evaluate who our best five guys are to get out there in any scenario."