Fashions, whiskers, hot seats and QBs
MORGANTOWN - Odds and ends and a few things I think I think while contemplating both the love and hate being expressed over a grey West Virginia football uniform:
Maryland signed its first five-star recruit in at least five years back in February. If you don't believe that the school's rebranding efforts - including the most obnoxious collection of uniforms ever designed - had at least something to do with wide receiver Stefon Diggs' decision, well, think again.
Ditto the constant flow of talent to a place like Oregon. It may seem silly to you - and it certainly does to me - but that stuff matters. You can say that if a recruit makes a college decision based on unis then he might be missing a key component in his thinking, but it happens all the time. Deal with it, along with the greys, the blacks and whatever else comes along in the future.
And besides, when was the last time West Virginia actually wore old gold and blue? Frank Cignetti? Certainly not much beyond early Don Nehlen.
Fear the Smooth-shaven? Just doesn't have the same ring, does it?
But having sported the full-whisker look in a long-ago time (back when the hair on top grew just as full), it's hard to argue with anyone who deems it far more comfortable to go bare in the summer. Kilicli assures, though, that it will return in winter.
Rather than merely write a piece on FBS coaches on the hot seat heading into the 2012 season, Dodd has once again ranked every FBS head coach in terms of relative heat of the seat. While you may disagree with some of his numerical conclusions (he rated each from 0 to 5, with 0 being untouchable and 5 as win or be fired), you can't argue his comprehensiveness.
Tennessee's Derek Dooley is one of two coaches with a 5.0 hot-seat rating, given an 11-14 record in two Rocky (Top) years. The other is Arkansas's John L. Smith, who kind of walks right into it through no fault of his own (as a last-minute replacement for Bobby Petrino).
The most interesting 0.0 coach might be Paul Rhoads. The defensive coordinator who helped Pitt upset West Virginia in 2007 is just 11-18 in two years at Iowa State, but hey, expectations aren't that high in Ames.
For the record, Dana Holgorsen is 0.5 at WVU (the same as Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and Rich Rodriguez in his first year at Arizona) and Doc Holliday is 2.5 at Marshall (the same as Mark Richt at Georgia and Al Golden at Miami, among a whole bunch of others).
Remember Tom Savage, the wunderkind at Rutgers a few years ago? He's now at Pitt after a stop at Arizona. Maryland's Danny O'Brien, still reeling from his one-play appearance against West Virginia in 2010 (he was walloped by Bruce Irvin), is not only at Wisconsin now but has two years of immediate eligibility thanks to graduating in three years. If LSU fulfills its potential as a top-5 team this year, it will be with former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Those are just at the tip of the tongue. It takes a little digging to find some, like the potential starter at James Madison, WVU's second opponent this season. He's Lafonte Thourogood, who in February of 2011 was a Virginia Tech commitment and had also been offered by WVU. But the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder from Virginia Beach instead signed with Vanderbilt, then redshirted as a freshman and was moved to running back. He transferred to JMU in early June and is immediately eligible.
Not that this is a new phenomenon. Cam Newton (Florida to Auburn via junior college) and Russell Wilson (N.C. State to Wisconsin) are the most recent success stories in a second life. Troy Aikman was probably the most successful of all time, quarterbacking an Oklahoma team that would, after he broke his ankle, eventually win a national title in 1985 under Jamelle Holieway, then transferring and leading UCLA to a 20-4 record in two years.
West Virginia (Jake Kelchner) and Marshall (Eric Kresser) have had QBs transfer in and start. WVU has had them transfer out, too, the latest being Barry Brunetti, who started at Mississippi as soon as he left Morgantown.
It would just be so much easier if we had a program, wouldn't it?
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.