"I was asked the question," Dunlap said. "I just answered."
What WVU was trying to determine Tuesday evening was if indeed the conversation(s) took place. If so, it would undoubtedly be the last straw for a man already carrying the albatross of NCAA-charged violations.
A call was placed to Stewart, by the way, and not returned. Likewise a call was placed to a probable candidate to be the "second WVU beat writer" with a like result.
What WVU officials had to be deciding is if enough evidence of sabotage exists to end the experiment that apparently has failed. Two, in effect, de facto head coaches apparently haven't cut it.
One assistant football coach, by the way, spoke off the record on Tuesday. One could hear the sadness in his voice. It was a sadness that apparently wasn't there because of Stewart or Holgorsen. It was there because of the effect on the assistant's family, his school's players and the program's recruiting effort.
It's something to keep in mind as this plays out.
Athletic director Oliver Luck, in the meantime, did nothing on Tuesday to stiff-arm the possibility of Stewart's removal. He issued a statement and appeared on a radio show in which he admitted "a little bit of controversy" and "a little bit of drama." Noteworthy, though, was that he was also "separating fact and fiction."
If he determines Stewart, in fact, has been shooting torpedoes at Holgorsen - and the burden of proof doesn't have to rest entirely on a couple of reporters - the offensive coordinator, in the midst of controversy himself, would take over a season early.
Perhaps it will be best for the Mountaineer program. Sure, WVU, president Jim Clements, Luck, Holgorsen, Stewart, etc., will take white-hot heat over the entire fiasco. In some cases, deservedly so. The entire package will be labeled a mini scandal and likely will be debated and filleted nationally.
In this case, however, two heads have proven not to be better than one. At the major college level, egos are simply too large.
By cutting Stewart loose, WVU could afford Holgorsen the ability to concentrate on repairing his image and shaping his team - without having to look over his shoulder.
If, that is, Holgorsen ever had to look over his shoulder at all.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.