Political activist Ralph Nader suggests the elimination of athletic scholarships.....Iowa WR Marvin McNutt out for spring practice due to shoulder injury.....Jim Tressel suspended for five games officially due to role in 'TatooGate'.....Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd arrested on DUI.....


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Blogger Q&A's: West Virginia Edition

Now, I inteviewed John from The Mountainlair.

1. What about the schedule? The Big East often gets criticized for it's perceived lack of strength (I don't happen to think that, but many disagree). What's your response to those people?

A couple years ago, it was very easy for me to say that it's hard to replace Miami, Va. Tech, and Boston College on your schedule over night. Now, I think you can see that most Big East teams are beefing up their ooc schedule. West Virginia has Colorado and Auburn starting next year. Syracuse has Washington and Iowa this year as well as Penn St. and Notre Dame next year. Plus future series with Virginia Tech and Boston College. Pitt has future series with Iowa, Notre Dame, Miami, and Clemson. When those three schools were in the Big East, there wasn't much need for a strong ooc schedule. Now that the conference is watered down a bit, it's more important. The Big East should expect a certain amount of bashing. But at the same time, I think they deserve every bit of the praise they have received for turning the conference around as quickly as they did.

2. Do you think Steve Slaton or Pat White can win the Heisman? There's all the talk about the "splitting votes" syndrome.

I'm so much more concerned with the team going 12-0 to be honest. It really depends on if Pat White is more productive as a passer this year. There were games that White carried the team in Slaton's absence last year. And if that happens again this year, and they go 12-0, I think White has a good shot. I expect White to be back next year, though. And that might actually be the year for him with Brohm and Slaton out of the way, so to speak. Who knows, Ray Rice might be gone after this year as well.

3. Is Owen Schmitt the most underrated player in college football? Is there anybody else on the Mountaineers that you feel doesn't get enough recognition?

I don't think he's underrated. My two cents. Owen Schmitt is a great fullback when it comes to blocking and catching passes out of the backfield. I think people fall asleep on him as far as running the ball. With good reason, but I believe if the coaches notice someone trying to run around Schmitt's blocks, they give him the ball. And the next thing you know, he's 20 yards down the field. It's going to be a little different this year as Schmitt is going to be lining up some at tight end. He's going to have a lot more chances to show himself.

4. The offensive line needs a bit of rebuilding after losing 2 key starters, Dan Mozes and Jeremy Sheffey. Should there be anything to worry about?

Early? Yes. There is a good bit of experience at most of the offensive line positions. Mike Dent hasn't seen a whole lot of action at center. So there is going to be a smoothing out period for him. From all reports he's doing fine. Hopefully by Maryland he will be up to speed. I have no worries about the rest of the line, though.

5. Is West Virginia headed for New Orleans come bowl season?

With the defense the way it was last year, and the possible loss of JT Thomas and Ellis Lankster due to stealing a laptop, I have my doubts. I think the offense is championship caliber, but if we can't stop Louisville it won't matter. Also, Slaton needs to stay healthy for this team to be successful. There was no one to back him up last year, and that really hurt. That has to change, or he needs to not get hurt. I think there are just too many question marks for me to say without a doubt. They have a chance, but a lot of things are going to have to go right.

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