Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 11:43 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
West Virginia was the media's pick to win the Big East, largely because of the talent level of returning starters and excitement to see them under first-year head coach Dana Holgorsen. But if the Mountaineers find themselves bitten by the injury bug, things are awfully questionable as you scan down the depth chart.
West Virginia currently has just 78 scholarship players on the roster, and many of the names in the current depth chart are walk-ons. There are certain positions, most notably quarterback, where anything after second-string is a complete guess. Holgorsen is so concerned with with the depth, he's taken extra efforts to reach out for more walk-ons. According to the Charleston Gazette, a mass email has gone out to the student body looking for volunteers to come and play third and fourth string quarterback during the Mountaineers camp. The combination of Holgorsen's pass-happy system and lack of quarterbacks is beginning to create concern that the two on the roster will be overworked.
For now, assistant coaches have stepped in as third and fourth string quarterbacks to give starter Geno Smith and true freshman Paul Millard some rest. Even Holgorsen himself stepped under center to take some snaps in Saturday's practice. As for the rest of the positions, West Virginia has been "aggressively marketing" the team's walk-on tryout Aug. 22.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 3:56 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The first official preseason poll was released on Thursday, with USA Today announcing the results of the Coaches Poll. Much to the dismay of Big East football fans, there was not a single representative from the conference in the initial poll. It should not come as a complete shock, as not a single Big East team finished ranked in 2010's final coaches poll either. West Virginia was the only vote-getting team down the stretch of last season, but after a 23-7 loss to N.C. State in the Champ Sports Bowl the Mountaineers fell from the rankings.
With only three teams receiving any Top 25 votes from the coaches, we will look to the "Other Receiving Votes" to find our Big East contenders. (No. 25 Penn State received 161 points in the poll)
West Virginia, 149 points, No. 27 - The Mountaineers fall just short of the Top 25 after being named the preseason favorite to win the Big East. Dana Holgorsen is looking forward to a challenging non-conference schedule that will include playing LSU and facing Maryland in College Park. In order to be taken seriously on a national level, West Virginia needs to win one of those September matchups. Unless something drastic changes, being first in the Big East standings won't be enough to get you invited to the party.
South Florida, 9 points, No. 38 - Skip Holtz's squad enters the season predicted to be one of the top three teams in the conference. Despite five straight 8+ win seasons, the Bulls haven't finished higher than third in the conference since joining the Big East. Many believe that this season could be the year USF breaks through. They finished the 2010 season with emotional wins over Miami and Clemson, creating what Holtz is calling a "snowball effect" of excitement around the football program. They'll have a chance to show that newfound excitement early, kicking off the season against No. 18 Notre Dame in South Bend.
Pittsburgh, 3 points, No. 47 - The Panthers return eight starters from the eighth-best defense in 2010, and add a new high-octane offensive scheme brought by new head coach Todd Graham. It is not shocking to see Pittsburgh failing to collect Top 25 votes, but they seem to have an advantage when compared to many of the other teams around them. The Panthers will get a chance to prove themselves against Iowa, Notre Dame, and Utah. If they have a squad that deserves to be in the rankings, we will know by the middle of October.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 1:51 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Big East Media Day got started in Newport the the release of the preseason media poll and opening remarks from commissioner John Marinatto and all eight head coaches. Each coach was given several minutes to address the media and share some thoughts on the upcoming season.
Pretty much every coach spent some time talking about the competition in the league. It was pointed out several times that 5 of the 8 teams have earned a share of the conference title since 2006, and all eight teams have earned at least one bowl berth in the last two years. Also many of the coaches expressed their excitement for the arrival of TCU and the topic of the upcoming media deal negotiation was not ignored. Other than Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, no other coach has been in his current post for longer than three seasons. The anxiousness to get into fall camp was another common theme, particularly for new coaches Todd Graham, Dana Holgorsen, and Paul Pasqualoni.
Below are some highlights from each coach's time at the podium.
Rutgers - Greg Schiano
- Schiano acknowledged the late-season collapse from 2010. "The wheels came off," he explained to the media. "We'll return Rutgers football to its winning ways, to bowl games." The Scarlet Knights had been to five straight bowl games (winning four in a row) until 2010's last place finish.
- One of the weakest points in Rutgers' offense a year ago was the offensive line. With new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Schiano believes the Scarlet Knights will return to being a "power football team." Says they've made some schematic changes to the line, but also believes they "are a better group than we were at any time last year."
- Highly touted running back Savon Huggins has become a star in the Rutgers football community before even setting foot on campus. Schiano made no promises about the starting running back position, but instead listed the entire group and said that Huggins will "make for great competition" when camp opens.
West Virginia - Dana Holgorsen
- "Excited to get to do this a year early" was the closest Holgorsen came to mentioning former head coach Bill Stewart. However he did spend a considerable amount of time complimenting the work of defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel. While the Mountaineers lost seven starters from the defensive unit to the NFL, Holgorsen believes they have a "good nucleus" of players coming back to lead the 2011 edition of Casteel's defense.
- Holgorsen said that quarterback Geno Smith has picked up the new offensive system well. While Holgorsen has only been head coach since June, he's been working with the offense since his arrival in Morgantown before spring practice. He said that Smith's challenge now is "to make everyone around him better."
- "Tavon Austin is a dynamic kid who can touch the ball in a whole bunch of different ways," Holgorsen said of the junior playmaker. He made it clear the Mountaineers plan on putting the ball in his hands as much as they can.
Syracuse - Doug Marrone
- With an 8-5 finish and a Pinstripe Bowl victory, the Orange are fresh off their most successful season since 2001. Marrone, entering his second year on the job, made it clear that the goals for the program are to create a foundation and "become a competitive team year in and year out" in the league. The media projected the Orange to finish fourth in the conference, but well behind West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and USF.
- The Orange lost a lot of talent on defense, and Marrone made it clear that there will be lots of competition over the next month in camp. While the unit is solid at defensive end and safety, it sounds like the interior line, outside linebackers, and corner back positions are up for grabs.
- There was no update on the medical status of Prince-Tyson Gulley or any team decision regarding recently arrested wide receiver Marcus Sales. It has been reported that Gulley has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, but the coach made no statement on either situation.
Charlie Strong - Louisville
- Strong won over the Cardinals football community in his first year by taking the team back to the postseason for the firs time since the 2006 season, when the Cardinals were Big East champions. He was able to deliver a bowl game experience to a team that had 25 seniors, with 14 in the starting lineup. Strong made it clear that the Cardinals will be looking for players to step up this fall, filling in for the mass exodus of players from the two-deep.
- There is no hiding the lack of experience at quarterback for the Cardinals. Junior Will Stein has the most experience of the group (2 starts), but Strong made sure to mention dual-threat freshman Teddy Bridgewater and wildcard QB Dominique Brown as well. In spring practice it looked like Stein had a lead on the job thanks to his comfort with the offense, but clearly every candidate will get a shot to earn snaps this fall.
- Strong said that the defense will likely be the team's strength this season, particularly the defensive line. Three starters return from last year's unit, and the entire two-deep has game experience. The Cardinals also return both starting safeties, most notably 2nd team All-Big East sophomore Hakeem Smith.
Paul Pasqualoni - Connecticut
- It seems odd that one of the "first-year" coaches was present for the first season of Big East football in 1991, but such is the way things have worked out for Connecticut's Paul Pasqualoni. He pointed out how different the league is now, noting that the diversity of champions in recent years contrasts to the conference's inception - where Miami took 9 of the first 13 Big East titles.
- With no starting quarterback (Pasqualoni has decided to let all four candidates continue to compete into fall camp), there has been an emphasis placed on the offensive line. The Huskies did a fantastic job moving the ball with Jordan Todman in 2010, and Pasqualoni hopes that USC-transfer D.J. Shoemate will be able to find similar success this fall.
- Expect multiple looks from the Huskies defense this season. Explained that he and defensive coordinator Don Brown (formerly with Maryland) have different backgrounds and are "merging" their systems. There will be some 3-4 and some 4-3 as the Huskies continue to develop the linebacker position. Pasqualoni says that he has an "outstanding defensive line," anchored by all-conference defensive tackle Kendall Reyes.
Todd Graham - Pittsburgh
- When Graham took the podium, it was impossible not to recognize his feeling of pride after being introduced as the Pittsburgh coach. He opened talking about how far he has come, from coaching middle school football 25 years ago to now finally being a head coach in a BCS AQ conference. He mentioned his great memories as an assistant at West Virginia (his first collegiate job), and expressed his excitement to return to the conference. He also indirectly gave credit to former head coach Dave Wannstedt, saying he "has a lot of respect for the job that has been done before him" to bring this team together.
- Graham used the phrase "high-octane" several times during his remarks, and Panther fans should get excited for what it could mean for the offense this fall. Not only will it lead to exciting football, but Graham actually believes that it will better suit quarterback Tino Sunseri as well. According to Graham, moving the returning starter back into the shotgun "accentuates" his talents.
- For all the talk about Graham's new "high-octane" offense, he was sure to point out his excitement for the defense, which returns most of a unit that ranked 8th nationally in 2010. In addition to the returning starters, the coaching staff is excited about the development that they saw this spring on the defensive side of the ball. Graham also singled out senior nose tackle Myles Caragein as "the leader of this football team."
Buch Jones - Cincinnati
- Unlike the rest of his colleagues, Jones spent no time going over personnel or specific team outlook in his opening remarks. Instead he commented mostly on his admiration for the conference and pleasure to be coaching the 5th oldest college football program in the nation. Leadership is clearly a theme of his right now, although he called it "misunderstood" by many in America. It was confusing, I know. I'm guessing he is saving all his specific football chatter for the afternoon.
- One remotely football topic Jones covered involved his opening remarks was returning an entire defensive unit. He described that it is "one thing to be older, but we have to be better," when referring to the returning defense. The Bearcats ranked near the bottom of the conference in most defensive categories, and must improve if they want to turn around last season's 4-8 performance.
Skip Holtz - USF
- I'll give the second-year Bulls' coach one thing: he deliver a straightforward and enthusiastic message. "We were three plays a year ago from winning 11 games," Holtz said. "But we were three plays away from probably winning four." The Bulls went to overtime twice in 2010, and played in seven games decided by 8 points or less. Holtz, who described his first year on the job as "a blur," clearly understands how close the conference competition can get in the Big East.
- Holtz spent a considerable amount of time praising the university's leadership for their efforts in USF's growth. From facilities to funding, the entire athletic department has benefited from an initiative by the school to become more than a "commuter school." According to Holtz, seeing the campus-wide push has created a sense of excitement around Tampa.
- Speaking of excitement, Holtz identified the Bulls' late season wins over Miami in Coral Gables and Clemson in the Belk Bowl as victories that created a "snowball effect" for the team. He said the way the team came together and finished the season created a lot of excitement about the future. But Holtz knows it is still too early to make any projections regarding the 2011 season.
"From August 3 to September 3 we are going to learn a lot about this football team," Holtz explained. "I think that the next month will determine the amount of success we have [as a football team]."
Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:45 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
After getting my new copy of EA Sports' NCAA Football 12 on Tuesday, I took the time to simulate the entire 2012 season to see what the video game thinks is going to happen this year. In order to make things realistic, I even went through all the trouble of updating rosters to reflect what they currently look like.
That meant moving Russell Wilson from NC State to Wisconsin, removing Terrelle Pryor -- not to mention benching the suspended Buckeyes for the first five games of the season -- removing WaShaun Ealey and Caleb King from Georgia's backfield and so on and so forth.
No need to thank me, it was a labor of love.
So how did things turn out?
Well, it looks as if we'll once again have a non-BCS school finish the year undefeated -- the only school to do so -- but it's not Boise State or TCU. In fact, Boise State finally got its shot at a national title, but it couldn't come through.
Let's find out. First we'll start with the conference champions (Records don't include conference championships or bowl games).
ACC -- North Carolina 9-3 (6-2)
Big 12 -- Texas A&M 10-2 (8-1)
Big East -- South Florida 9-3 (6-1)
Big Ten -- Wisconsin 11-1 (7-1)
C-USA -- Houston 12-0 (8-0)
MAC -- Western Michigan 10-2 (7-1)
MWC -- Boise State 12-0 (7-0)
Pac 12 -- Oregon 9-3 (7-2)
SEC -- South Carolina 11-1 (7-1)
Sun Belt -- Troy 10-2 (8-0)
WAC -- Fresno State 8-4 (7-0)
And how about those BCS bowl games? Well I'm glad you asked.
Rose Bowl -- Wisconsin 49, Oregon 46 OT
Fiesta Bowl -- Texas A&M 38, Ohio State 17
Orange Bowl -- North Carolina 28, Alabama 20
Sugar Bowl -- Houston 48, South Florida 13
BCS National Championship -- South Carolina 24, Boise State 22
Yes, that's right, the Ol' Ball Coach has added another national title to his resume. Boise State did have a chance to topple the BCS machine, but couldn't pull through. Trailing 24-16, Kellen Moore hit Kyle Efaw on a 16-yard touchdown with 3 minutes left, but the Broncos couldn't convert the two-point conversion. The Gamecocks ran out the clock and celebrated a national title. Oh, and Stephen Garcia was the game's MVP. Let that marinate in your brain for a minute or two.
As for awards, I hope Houston quarterback Case Keenum used all that time off last season to build himself a trophy case because it looks as if he's going to need one. Keenum not only won the Heisman Trophy, but the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien trophies to boot. That's what happens when you lead Houston to a 14-0 record yet still finish second in both polls.
Now, if that's not enough info for you, let's take a look at some of the season storylines by conference.
-- Jimbo Fisher hits the sophomore slump. Florida State doesn't even qualify for a bowl berth after finishing the year 5-7 with a 3-5 mark within the ACC. FSU loses to Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State, Boston College, Miami and Florida. And of those losses, only the loss to Florida was by less than 10 points.
-- Al Golden has Miami on the right track. Sure, the Canes only went 8-5 during the season, but they did finish 6-2 in ACC play, just missing the ACC title game thanks to a 27-17 loss to North Carolina
-- Duke goes bowling! That's right, Duke finishes the year 7-6 with a 4-4 mark in the ACC, including a two-point win over UNC. Though the Dukies do lose to Florida in the Music City Bowl. I have no idea who Steve Spurrier was rooting for while watching.
-- Boston College is the "best" team in the Atlantic Division. The Eagles finish the year 8-6 with a 5-3 mark in the conference. They even nearly beat UNC in the title game, losing 29-27.
-- Oklahoma can't handle the pressure. The Sooners started out the year 7-0 before getting shocked by Kansas State on the road -- where else? -- 24-21. They also lost at Oklahoma State 38-24 to end the regular season and kill their hopes of a BCS berth.
-- Texas won't be terrible two years in a row. The Longhorns finish the season 11-2 with a 7-2 mark in the Big 12. Though they do lose to Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which stings a bit.
-- Where have you gone, Blaine Gabbert? Missouri needs you. The Tigers finished the season 4-8 with a 2-7 mark in the conference. Seems they're going to miss Colorado, Nebraska and the North Division.
-- The Big East is respectable. While no team in the conference finished the season with less than three losses (Pitt being the only with three), seven of the eight Big East schools won at least seven games, with Rutgers holding the only losing record.
-- Louisville can't finish. The Cardinals led the Big East most of the season before losing four of their last five games to finish 3-4 in the conference.
-- Casino or football field, Dana Holgorsen has a tough time winning anywhere this year. The Mountaineers went 2-5 in the Big East during his inaugural campaign.
-- Who needs Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor? Ohio State went 4-1 in its first five games of the season while so many of its playmakers sat out, and though the Buckeyes struggled in Big Ten play, they still finished the year 9-4 and got an at-large berth to the Fiesta Bowl. Oh, and they still beat Michigan.
-- Not that Michigan minded all that much, because Brady Hoke made believers out of the faithful in his first year. That Michigan loss to Ohio State? That was the Wolverines only Big Ten loss of the regular season, as they went 7-1 to win the Legends Division.
-- Wisconsin loves Russell Wilson. Wilson and the Badgers tore up the Big Ten all year long until the final week of the regular season. Then, after being 11-0 and ranked #1 for the majority of the regular season, the Badgers fell at home to Penn State 42-28. Though I guess beating Michigan 34-13 in the first Big Ten Championship Game and then Oregon in the Rose Bowl took some of the sting out of it.
-- New kid Nebraska gets picked on. The Huskers went 3-5 in Big Ten play, even losing to Minnesota. Though that wasn't as embarrassing as the 13-7 loss to Ohio -- University, not State -- in the Texas Bowl.
-- USC isn't on probation in virtual reality. So the Trojans were able to win the Pac-12 South division, even if they did lose to Oregon 35-14 in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship.
-- Utah enjoyed their move more than Colorado. The Utes finished the season 5-4 in conference play while Colorado went 3-6.
-- Andrew Luck should have gone pro. Stanford and Luck were off to a very nice start to the season, opening 7-0. Then Luck broke his arm, missed the rest of the year and Stanford finished 10-3.
-- The East still stinks. Sure, South Carolina wins the national title, but no other SEC East team managed to win more than four games in the conference. Meanwhile, in the West, LSU had the worst season of anyone, going 7-6 with a 3-5 mark in the SEC. Les Miles needs to eat more grass.
-- Will Muschamp did OK. Florida finished the season 9-4 with a 4-4 mark in the SEC, though Charlie Weis' offense needs some work. The Gators never scored more than 21 points against a SEC opponent not named Vanderbilt.
-- Alabama needs to fire Nick Saban, PAAAAWWWWWWWL. Oh the indignity of Alabama's 2012 season. Not only did the Tide lose the SEC title game to South Carolina, but then they went and lost to North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. Since when does Alabama play in the Orange Bowl, PAAWWWWL? NICK SABAN HAS GOT TO GO.
-- Auburn doesn't miss Cam Newton as much as you'd think. Even without their Heisman winning quarterback, the Tigers still manage to go 8-5 with a 4-4 mark in the conference. Not great, but not terrible either.
-- TCU would like to get to the Big East ASAP. The Horned Frogs lose twice in 2012, and not just to Boise State. Unlike 2011, TCU wasn't able to escape San Diego State, losing 33-30 at Qualcomm Stadium.
-- Notre Dame is back! The Irish finish the year 10-3, and feature one of the most potent offenses in college football. Why they're painting Brian Kelly over Touchdown Jesus as you read this.
-- BYU finds independence to be constricting. The Cougars first season free of the shackles of conferencedom does not work out very well, as BYU finishes the year 4-8 and even loses to Utah State along the way.
-- While I already went over the disrespect Houston received, what about conference mate Southern Miss? The Golden Eagles finished the regular season 11-1 before losing to Houston in the C-USA title game, and they couldn't even sniff the Top 25.
And that's it. There's the entire 2011 season right there according to a video game. I suppose at this point there's no point in even watching any of the games. Now, if you don't mind me, I'm going to go try and wrap my head around Stephen Garcia leading South Carolina to a national championship.
Can you imagine that party?
Tags: ACC, Al Golden, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Auburn, BCS National Championship, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Blaine Gabbert, Boise State, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Brian Kelly, BYU, C-USA, Caleb King, Cam Newton, Case Keenum, Charlie Weis, Colorado, Dana Holgorsen, Duke, Fiesta Bowl, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Georgia, Heisman Trophy, Houston, Jim Tressel, Jimbo Fisher, Kansas State, Kellen Moore, Kyle Efaw, Les Miles, Louisville, LSU, MAC, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, MWC, NC State, NCAA Football 12, Nebraska, Nick Saban, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Orange Bowl, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Pitt, Rose Bowl, Russell Wilson, Rutgers, San Diego State, SEC, Simulations, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Miss, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Sugar Bowl, Sun Belt, TCU, Terrelle Pryor, Texas, Texas A&M, Troy, USC, USF, Utah, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Video Games, WAC, Wake Forest, WaShaun Ealey, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Will Muschamp, Wisconsin
Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 2:55 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Police say they received a call around 5:00 from a man claiming that another man with a gun and two acquaintances entered an apartment and demanded money from him. When he told them he had no money, the victim says he was struck repeatedly with the gun and forced out of the apartment.
West Virginia is yet to release a statement on Busick's arrest.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 10:25 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel has become a bit of an institution in Morgantown. His 3-3-5 defense has helped the Mountaineers have the top-ranked unit in the Big East three of the last four seasons. But just as the entire team suffered a break in continuity with the awkward promotion of coach Dana Holgorsen, the defense will face its own challenges only returning four starters from the 2010 unit that allowed 13.5 points per game (third best in the nation). But some of the pieces that Casteel does have back were (and will be) pivotal in the pass rush game. Senior Bruce Irvin came one sack short of Daquan Bowers' 15 to lead the nation, and he accomplished all that sharing snaps with fellow senior Julian Miller -- who added 9 sacks of his own. The Mountaineers had to say goodbye to all-conference defensive linemen Chris Neild and Scooter Berry, but Irvin seems confident the unit can repeat its pressure attack from 2010.
"This year, we'll be on the thinner side, but we'll be faster with more speed rushers," Irvin told the Charleston Daily Mail. "Hopefully Shaq [Rowell] got right and he and Jorge [Wright] can clog the holes up and Julian and I can do what we do"
Instead of sharing snaps, Miller has moved to the defensive tackle position and Irvin will be the starter at defensive end. Rowell (308 pounds) and Wright (281 pounds) definitely stack up on the lighter side of traditional nose tackles, so my guess is "got right" includes adding size and strength.
If the defense is best suited pressuring the passer, then it should benefit from an offense that has the potential to put up points quickly. West Virginia's most dangerous opposing offense will be one that can control the game by pounding the ball on the ground. Keeping the ball out of Geno Smith's hands and forcing an inexperienced linebacking to step up and make plays on the line are the best way to keep things close against West Virginia.
Unless Rowell "got right," in which case we could expect a typical conference-leading performance from Casteel's unit.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:18 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Like his mentor Mike Leach (still biding his time until next season in Key West), new West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen has long since had a reputation -- one he hasn't done much to dispel -- for living life to its fullest.
And apparently, his early promotion to the Mountaineers' full-time head coaching position isn't going to do anything to change that. How did Holgorsen react to the dismissal of Bill Stewart and his sudden ascension to the top job? By capping a "two-day getaway" with a flying leap out of an airplane,of course:
Breathe easy, Mountaineer fans: Holgorsen was fine, as you might expect from a coach whose eviction from a casino at 3 a.m. on a weeknight set off a chain-of-events which resulted in his promotion.
You can watch Holgorsen's jump and subsequent "crash-landing" here; if he shows as much resilience and fearlessness coaching the Mountaineers as he does in the clip, WVU should be in good hands for a long time to come.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 5:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
After yesterday's report that West Virginia was in the process of buying out the remainder of head coach Bill Stewart's contract, it was only a matter of time before his departure from Morgantown became official. It appears that time is now.
With rumors swirling left and right that Stewart would out of his job by the end of the day, the Charleston Gazette has now reported that Stewart's resignation is "imminent." Many online outlets believe Oliver Luck and the WVU administration will make Stewart's dismissal official with an announcement this afternoon.
The Sporting News is reporting that Stewart has been fired for "conduct detrimental to the university," though the official announcement may not share that phrasing.
Dana Holgorsen is expected to take over as the Mountaineer head coach, effective immediately. The move will bring to an end what appeared to be a behind-the-scenes struggle between offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting Holgorsen and Stewart, who asked reporters to smear Holgorsen (and may have helped one columnist do exactly that) after Luck announced, in naming Holgorsen Stewart's replacement, that he "didn't believe" Stewart could win a BCS championship.
Per the Charleston Daily Mail, the promotion will push Holgorsen to his full contract-mandated head coaching salary of $1.4 million per year, with $250,000 raises each year he remains the Mountaineer head coach.
Stewart leaves Morgantown with identical 9-4 records in all three seasons on his tenure, plus the 2007 Fiesta Bowl upset of Oklahoma as interim head coach that earned him the job on a permanent basis. But none of those seasons were good enough to win the Big East and a return to the BCS, much less challenge for a national title as predecessor Rich Rodriguez had come within one win of doing.
And in the end, those failures are what cost him the job; the acrimony with Holgorsen only sped the process up by a year.