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Mountaineers Faring Well at Midpoint

October 15, 2011
By JIM ELLIOTT , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

If you are in any way disappointed in West Virginia University's football season thus far, college football writer Phil Steele and his group beg to disagree with you.

Steele, famous for his college football preview magazines, released his midseason All-Big East teams Friday and Mountaineers players' names are plastered all over them.

Earning first-team honors was quarterback Geno Smith, receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, offensive linemen Joe Madsen, Jeff Braun, and Don Barclay, defensive end Bruce Irvin, cornerback Keith Tandy, safety Terence Garvin, kicker Tyler Bitancurt, and Austin twice more as the the top kick and punt returner.

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Whew.

West Virginia had no second-team offensive guys but cornerback Pat Miller made the grade defensively. On the third team is receiver Ivan McCartney, defensive end Julian Miller and linebacker Najee Goode, who is much better than third team All-Big East.

Talkin' Basketball

West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins spoke with the media this week, touching on a number of topics about his team, which welcomes eight newcomers.

With all of those new guys, you can tell Huggins has been working hard. It was clearly time for some comic relief.

On junior forward Deniz Kilicli: ''Jerry West's statue had as many rebounds as him,'' Huggins said.

On the team's progress after the trip overseas: ''I think they have familiarity with some of the things we want them to do. They are not very good at it though. At least they are familiar with it though.''

What about his patience as he gets older?

''As usual, I am not like everybody else,'' he said. ''I have more patience with some stuff as I get older in certain areas, particularly on the floor areas. I had no patience when I first started. I thought everybody should know what I know. I have since learned that they don't.''

On conference realignment: ''In my first eight years at Cincinnati, I was in three different leagues, so I am a veteran when it comes to league switching. When I was at Akron, we went from the Northeast Conference to the Mid-American Conference and never played a game in the Northeast Conference.''

What about the half-court play?

''I haven't seen any good half-court stuff on either end of the floor,'' he said. ''I think we went 5 minutes without getting a shot, both teams without a shot. It is hard to win like that.''

The teams come and go. Entertainment like this is signed to a lifetime contract in Morgantown.

Huggins also announced Friday that junior forward Dominique Rutledge has been suspended indefinitely from the team for a violation of team rules

K.J. Earns Praise

In case you missed it, Kevin Jones has been named to the 2011 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List. The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are considered the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor based on last season's individual performances and team records.

''He can conceivably be in the top 10 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding (at WVU),'' Huggins said of Jones. ''He could be the best offensive rebounder here. That is pretty good, especially at a place like this that has had some good guys play here. That is a heck of a career.''

Jones and Truck Bryant are the first teammates to return as 1,000-point scorers in school history.

Jim Elliott can be reached via e-mail at: elliott@theintelligencer.net