MORGANTOWN -- Odds and ends and a few things I think I think while waiting for some sort of official word on West Virginia's three latest football coaching hires:
Of course, I'm not the only one waiting. Consider the plight of Tony Gibson, Lonnie Galloway and Brian Mitchell. Word is they're sitting around, unable to do much of anything.All three will be hired, but not without going through the requisite background checks and paperwork required by WVU for any hire. And until that happens - one by one in the next few days certainly - they're pretty much in limbo.They can't go out and recruit and they can't even be issued new cell phones. And given that national signing day is just over three weeks off, that's got to be frustrating. Speaking of those new hires, someone mentioned to me that it was a bit disappointing that none seem to be big-splash guys. By that I assume the complaint was that none of the three are considered coaching masterminds.Well, there aren't a lot of coaching masterminds out there looking for jobs as assistant coaches. But the truth is that, at least in the case of Gibson and Galloway, Dana Holgorsen might have made significant progress.
Let's face it, the first priority for West Virginia is to upgrade the talent level at almost every position save for quarterback and receiver. And at those spots, replacing (as opposed to upgrading) NFL-caliber players is a significant need.I know very little about Mitchell, but in Gibson and Galloway, Holgorsen may have hit the mark. Galloway famously recruited both Tavon Austin and Bruce Irvin to WVU. Gibson's recruiting acumen has never been in question.And it's a lot easier to coach when you start with good recruits. While the coaches wait, a handful of new players are in school and apparently ready to go.According the WVU records, the following freshmen are enrolled and thus are eligible to work out this winter and join spring drills: linebacker Hodari Christian, safety Malik Greaves, quarterback Chavas Rawlins, running back Wendell Smallwood and receiver Dakiel Shorts. Junior college running back Dreamius Smith is also enrolled, although three others who signed as mid-year transfers were not yet in the system as of Monday afternoon.Of course, anyone who manages to graduate high school a semester early and begin college can be assumed to be no dummy, but I did find it interesting that Christian's stated major is biology and Greaves' is engineering. Nice to put student in student athlete. Rawlins, by the way, is embroiled in a bit of a controversy back at his high school in suburban Pittsburgh. Apparently the school district's board of education says it won't allow him to walk with his graduating class in the spring, even though he's met all the requirements for graduation and his school's principal is solidly behind him.The whole thing is too complicated to get into right now (think Facebook posts combined with some legal trouble involving teammates, not Rawlins; oh, and the ACLU is apparently ready to jump in now), but it's created quite the firestorm. Rawlins says he's disappointed, but he'll be at his Monessen High School graduation whether he's allowed to walk or not. One guy who won't be enrolling early - anywhere - is junior college quarterback Tanner McEvoy.McEvoy visited Oregon last weekend and had said previously that he had pretty much narrowed his choices to the Ducks and WVU. He was going to enroll at his choice for the spring semester. The deadline for doing so (the end of the NCAA's mid-year junior college transfer signing period) is today.Well, as it turns out McEvoy won't be eligible to go anywhere until the summer, so he can't sign as a mid-year transfer. He still needs another class.So McEvoy told me Monday he'll delay his decision."I won't put it off too long, but there's no reason to hurry now,'' he said. And finally, remember that terrific Pinstripe Bowl game that Terence Garvin had? Well, it wasn't quite as terrific as the statistics made it seem.In a game in which Syracuse just dominated West Virginia, the numbers for Garvin immediately afterward were stunning: 15 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and return and a broken-up pass.
And indeed, Garvin was pretty good. He pancaked Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib a couple of times and did force and recover a fumble. But he didn't have 15 tackles.As was the case with most of the statistics in that game, they had to be audited afterward. Let's just say that the statisticians the Yankees hired should probably stick to baseball. The red flag for me in the moments after the game was that defensive end Eric Kinsey was credited with three rushes for minus-30 yards.Huh?Well, West Virginia's sports information people went back and re-did all the numbers. Almost everything changed, if only in minor form. For example, Tavon Austin's rushing totals went from 12 carries for 54 yards to 11 for 45. Stedman Bailey gained a catch, but lost yards, going from seven receptions for 126 yards to eight for 121. Geno Smith wasn't 16 of 24, he was 19 of 28. Oh, and Prince-Tyson Gulley did not rush for 208 yards against WVU.It was 213.Yeah, they were off.Anyway, the final stats also show Garvin with all of those extras he was credited with (the sacks, etc.), but with far fewer tackles. Instead of 13 solo tackles and two assists, he had six solos and two assists. He was actually the third-leading tackler on the team behind Darwin Cook (his went from six to 11) and Karl Joseph (seven to nine).Garvin still had a good game, mind you, or as good a game as could be had by a guy on a team that gave up 369 rushing yards (that stayed the same). But it wasn't 15 tackles good.Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or email@example.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1