Just Kick It Out Of Bounds

This year, the NCAA decided to jump on the WVU bandwagon and made it easier for the Mountaineers to score every time we touched the ball. Sure, we didn’t need the help, but we appreciate the thought. The thank you card is in the mail.

The rule change I am talking about is kickoffs now occurring from the 30 yard line instead of the 35. Just a 5 yard move, right? No big deal. But think about this for a second. We have one of the strongest legged kickers and one of the best return units in the country. If you don’t believe me, read a little more from Mitch Vingle and Bill Stewart:

WVU’s identity revolves around speed. The Mountaineers are drunk with the stuff. White. Steve Slaton. Darius Reynaud. Noel Devine. Brandon Hogan. Vaughn Rivers. Antonio Lewis. Jock Sanders. Ellis Lankster.

WVU was No. 12 nationally in kickoff returns last season. Think they won’t be better with another 5 yards and all that speed?

“We’re going to change some of our kickoff return schemes,’’ Stewart said. “We don’t think people around the country can kick off as deep.’’

Giving WVU’s speed a chance to burn.

“But we’ve got some explosive, talented freshmen. Noel Devine. Brandon Hogan. Jock Sanders. Ellis Lankster. These guys have really impressed us thus far. They haven’t played with the lights on yet, but they’ve been impressive.’’

As should WVU’s special teams this season.

Ah, now you’re starting to see just how awesome this is going to be. Not only do we have Darius Reynaud, who is a threat to take it deep every time he touches the ball, but now we have added a few guys who seem built for kickoff returns. I am talking about Noel Devine, my man-crush Brandon Hogan, and Jock Sanders.

This is scary stuff. Think topless pictures of Rosie O’Donnell scary.

OK, I’m sorry for that. Friends don’t give other friends those mental pictures. But at least you know just how scary I was talking about. Really, really scary.

I will try to make up for it with some cheerleaders later today.

My Brandon Hogan Man-Crush Is Probably Unhealthy

Another day, another glowing article about Brandon Hogan. Take it away, Dave Hickman:

Those aren’t the only two freshmen in the mix on offense. Brandon Hogan, a 6-foot, 175-pounder who played quarterback at Osbourn High in Manassas, Va., is heavily in the mix at slot receiver, as is 6-2, 200-pound Will Johnson, from Dayton, Ohio, at wide receiver.

Both seem virtually certain to play.

“[Hogan is] learning some of the concepts as quickly as any freshman we’ve had at the slot,’’ Rodriguez said. “He can play [both] slot positions already, I believe. He’ll make some mistakes. We could probably throw him in at quarterback. He knows some of the reads because he played in a very similar system in high school and he’s just a kid that understands football. I’ve been very impressed with him so far.’’

Rich Rodirguez graduated from the Lou Holtz-Don Nehlen Memorial Academy for Coach-Speak, where he was valedictorian. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if he mentioned forfeiting to Western Michigan because they would beat us too badly.

So when he says he is “very impressed” with someone — and a true freshman at that — it gets me very moist. Right now, I am spending most of my time reading articles about Brandon Hogan and needle-pointing my dog a #22 Mountaineer jersey.

Note: I don’t have a dog.

Brandon Hogan’s Heroes

Did you see what I did there? I took a regular name, Brandon Hogan, and added a word to the end and — voila! — a hilarious pun. Chris Berman would be very proud. You must be rolling on the floor, convulsing with laughter. Oh, you’re not? You say you’re not laughing at all? You’re actually angry with me? Oh, OK. Let’s pretend this didn’t happen.

Anyhoo, Brandon Hogan is getting a lot of praise from CRR this fall camp. As you know, Rodriguez generally dislikes most his players in fall camp, at least to the media. Here is what CRR has been saying:

Of the newcomers, Hogan has probably had the most extensive background playing in a spread offense in high school. The Virginia player of the year at quarterback seems to be understanding things pretty quickly so far.

“Brandon seems to pick up our concepts really quick and he’s playing slot receiver,” Rodriguez said. “The other guys are doing a good job, too, but Brandon has kind of stood out.”

Many more high school programs are beginning to adopt the spread offense and Rodriguez says that removes some of the guess work involved in evaluating prep prospects.

“Now you find all kinds of athletic quarterbacks with the spread systems where 10 years ago you wouldn’t find that,” he said. “I think concepts help somewhat, especially at the quarterback position.

“Brandon ran a similar system in high school and a lot of the concepts I think he understands. The higher you go the more technical it gets and we probably make it too technical,” Rodriguez said.

Hogan is a smaller guy (think: Reynaud) with great athleticism (think: Reynaud) and speed (think: Reynaud). I wonder who on our team I would compare him to? Hmmm?

UPDATE: Watch for the block at the 1:10 mark, which conveniently happens during the best run of the Charlie Chaplin silent film.

[courtesy of MSNsportsNET]