Mountaineer Football A.S. (After Slaton)

Three years ago, no one, outside of his parents, had any idea who Steve Slaton was.

Two years ago, the entire nation was buzzing about Slaton’s performance in the Sugar Bowl. He had rushed for over 1,000 yards in a less than complete season and was only a true freshman. But could he repeat it?

One year ago, he repeated it. Big time. Slaton went for 1,744 yards and 16 TDs rushing (plus another 360 yards and 2 TDs receiving), finishing 4th in the Heisman voting. He was officially a superstar. But could he stay there?

This year, Slaton is gone to the NFL after an extremely disappointing junior year. So what happened, and where do we go from here?

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Thank You, Steve Slaton!

Thank you my friend

Its official and I do not like it one bit, but Super Steve Slaton is entering his name in the NFL Draft.

“I just told my coaches,” an emotional Slaton said. “This is hard for me. But my coaches that knew me best have left. And now it’s time for me to leave.”

Slaton is projected as a second round selection by the NFL advisory committee. However, if he runs a fast 40 at the combine he could jump into the late first round.

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I’ll Take This Saturday

Yeah, I know, Cincinnati is a good team. Sure they beat us as recently as 2003. Yeah, they’re ranked in the top 25. But everytime I think of them, I think of this game. Just getting used by a young, impressionable Pat White and a nubile, naive Steve Slaton. Wow, they grow up so fast these days. Where does the time go?

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Louisville Game Recap

Forgive me father, for I am about to sin…

Well, that certainly was a steaming pile of dog shit, wasn’t it? Surely, none of us have witnessed a more poorly conceived effort than the one that CRR put together Thursday night. It’s like he popped a couple Xanax and lost all ability for creative thought (and consciousness). Seriously, what was that?

  1. What was with the 71 consecutive Pat White runs straight up the middle? (I haven’t rewatched the game, so I don’t know the exact number). It’s like CRR’s play-calling shrinks significantly when we’re facing a test. At some point, you can tell he’s actively trying not to lose, rather than to win. To me, this is embarrassing. The last thing a top 10 program does is play not to lose, at home, to a 17 point underdog. You just don’t do it. You step on their throat from the word go and blow them out of the damn stadium. When we took the 17 point lead, that’s what should have happened. Instead, we played grab-ass for the next 15 minutes. What a fucking joke.
  2. Where is Steve Slaton? Outside of the Sugar Bowl, has there ever been a worse big-game player in a Mountaineer uniform? Last year, he put the ball on the turf over-and-over against Louisville and then delivered a whopping 43 yards against South Florida. This year, he has averaged 62.3 yards in our three biggest games (South Florida, Rutgers, and Louisville). It’s obvious that Rodriguez doesn’t trust him in important situations, which is saying a lot when you’re talking about a former Heisman trophy candidate.
  3. Don’t let Owen Schmitt punt. Just don’t. If you’re going to go for it on 4th down, go for it. If not, trot McAfee out there and let him punt. He is the fucking punter for God’s sake. I can’t get mad at Owen Schmitt as it’s his job to be a fullback, not a punter. This one, as always, falls on CRR. And while I’m at it, we were lucky to get 9 yards on that punt. It traveled 3 at the most.
  4. Noel Devine must play more. There’s just no way around this. Everytime he touches the ball, the entire stadium holds its breath. Not because he might fumble, as is the case with Slaton, but because he might break a run or somebody’s ankles. He’s a game-changer, both with score and momentum. That kick-return was just another example of this. If Slaton is busy throwing up on himself in big games, give the kid a chance. He’s only the most heralded recruit in Mountaineer history.

So that’s about it. If you saw me after the game, you almost undoubtedly told me a “win is a win.” I then undoubtedly wanted to punch you in the face. I came pretty close a couple times, too. If you want to be one of the best of the best, a win is never a win. Style points always count. Walk into the stadium, no matter who the opponent, and fuck them up. Easy as that.

Now, we need to get that memo to CRR.

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Info + Tainment = Infotainment

I post the following video for two reasons:

1) It’s a well-done highlight reel of us bouncing back from the loss at USF and winning at Syracuse; but more importantly…

2) Watch Steve Slaton carry the ball. Every single carry, he’s holding the ball in his left hand. Even carries where it was obviously beneficial to be holding it in his right hand. Wasn’t this a huge deal last season? Slaton’s wrist was hurt so badly that he had to only carry the ball in his left hand. Are we seeing this again?

Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s something. Just putting it out there.

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Two Heisman Hopefuls, Or None?

Unfortunately, and it pains me to say this, but one of these two is going to have to start to play badly for the other one to win the Heisman. Blasphemous? Hardly. Hear me out.

In the end, I think our season would be better served by neither winning the Heisman. They are both equally awesome players — maybe a slight edge to Pat White — and both steal a great deal of the others “stats.”

Think about it. When does Pat White’s Heisman stock go up? When Slaton has a tough game. And vice-versa. When they both dazzle, which is bound to happen more often than not, they’ll end up splitting votes.

You might bring up Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Both won Heismans. Both played on the same team. Well, two things: 1) Steve Slaton is not Reggie Bush. That’s only a compliment to Bush, not a knock on Slaton. Bush was a highlight reel waiting to happen. Slaton is also a home-run hitter, but not in the same way; and 2) Leinart was Bush’s elder. When Leinart won, he was the sole leader of the Trojans. Sure, it was Bush’s breakout season, but it was still Leinart’s show.

At WVU, it’s both Pat’s and Steve’s show. They share it almost equally. My hope is that they both blow it up, split votes, finish 2nd and 3rd (or something like that) in the Heisman, and we go to the National Championship.

Then Devine wins it in 2009.

…The Only Thing More Beautiful Than Marissa Miller…

This marks the second consecutive year that West Virginia (and Steve Slaton) have been featured on the cover as a part of SI’s College Football preview. ESPN might hate us (or love us, depending on who you ask), but it looks pretty safe that SI is on the bandwagon.