Random Thoughts As Summer Comes To A Close

Random Thoughts As Summer Comes To A Close

By Bob Hertzel

We are in that dead period of a college athletic year, the calm before the football storm.

Practice starts on Sunday, so players are on R&R, getting for another kind of R&R, the rock & roll that comes with camp.

This leaves us time for a few random thoughts before we sink our teeth in the serious stuff.

  1. So much is riding on WVU’s opener this year.

The nation’s eyes will be on the renewal of the rivalry with Virginia Tech, it being on the first Sunday night of the year in a pro stadium in D.C., debuting a highly touted quarterback in Will Grier.

A win could ignite the Mountaineers to a special season while a loss could puncture the balloon and lead to a troubled year.

Important game in what is an important year.

  1. While there isn’t the firepower in the WVU receiving corps that they had in the Tavon Austin/Stedman Bailey days, this may be as deep a receiving group as the Mountaineers have ever had.

Looking for breakout year for Jovon Durante and for freshman Reggie Roberson Jr. to make a quick splash.

Mascots and cheerleaders assemble on the field at The Star
  1. Five most fun Mountaineers to talk to?

Offensive lineman Kyle Bosch, who is a hoot; wide receiver Gary Jennings, who is insightful; middle linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton, who speaks the truth like Jersey guys do; wide receiver coach Tyron Carrier, who has a wonderful way of saying things, and, I hope, Will Grier, if Dana Holgorsen will break with his tradition and let us talk with his first-year quarterback, whose insight is crucial in reporting this season.

  1. Best coaching move Dana Holgorsen has made since coming has been to not only make Tony Gibson the defensive coordinator, but to turn the reins of the defense completely over to him.

Living in an offensive world – and we use that term with much thought, even beyond Big 12 football – Gibson has managed to create a defensive mindset while pushing a unique defense that allows him to take advantage of the kind of players that are available to him.

No, WVU will not have a Doomsday Defense, but defense won’t create the team’s doomsday, either.

* * * * * *

I’m known for some bad jokes, but this one came from WVU fullback Elijah Wellman via Twitter … and I lay no claim other putting it in a form that is more than 140 characters and has proper punctuation, then passing it on here:

Cashier: What you do when your cake strikes out?

Me: Huh?

Cashier: What do you do when your cake strikes out?

Me: I don’t know.

Cashier: Get a new batter.

Laugh at that at your own risk. If you do, Wellman may send more along.

* * * * * *

Do you believe in WVU’s football team?

Former WVU quarterback Geno Smith does.

This is what he tweeted on July 22:

“Dana is gonna bring us a Natty soon… I can feel it! #GoEers”

Translating, a Natty is a National Championship. So buckle the seat belts and go along for the ride.

* * * * * *

A website recently put out an interesting piece in which it came up with walk-on song for each of the top coaches in the country.

The one you are most interested in, of course, is WVU’s own Dana Holgorsen. Here’s what they came up with:

“Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against The Machine

Holgorsen looks like he knows his way around a mosh pit. Plus, with the string of Red Bulls he slams on the West Virginia sideline, this track made sense.

The thing is, this year Holgs is off the Red Bull. Turns out that WVU has a soft drink contract with Coca-Cola so he’s switching to their Monster energy drink.

Now for some other coaches of local interest

Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher: “You’re the Best” by Joe Esposito

Fisher was unequivocal in what he felt about the ACC’s place in the pecking order of college football conferences this summer. The league and Ralph Macchio of “The Karate Kid” are both the best around.

Alabama’s Nick Saban: “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones

Saban and his wife like to listen to this classic on their way home from Crimson Tide victories. Since an Alabama win is pretty darn close to a foregone conclusion in most games these days, might as well start playing it as soon as he arrives.

Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy: “I Want My Mullet Back” by Billy Ray Cyrus

We all want the mullet back. This one edged out another strong contender for Gundy – The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man.”

Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley: “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody

Riley was born more than a decade after this song was released (1971), but a tune about a lightning-fast newcomer named Lincoln fits too well to pass up.

Texas’s Tom Herman: “They Don’t Know” by Paul Wall

Herman — who had Paul Wall make him a custom grill while coaching at Houston – is trying to surprise a lot of people in the Lone Star State like the Texan rapper.

Kansas State’s Bill Snyder: “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith

Snyder, 77, is in Manhattan for another go-round in his second tenure as the Wildcats’ head coach. It was tempting to go with “Back in the Saddle Again” written by Gene Autry in 1939 since that is the year Snyder was born, but Aerosmith’s rendition provides a little more juice.

* * * * * *

You know athletes are earning too much money these days when you see stories like the one out of Georgia where former Alabama receiver, Julio Jones, now with the Atlanta Falcons, hires a team of divers to search the bottom of Lake Lanier, where he lost an earring while diving.

The value of the earring?

According to Jones, on the north side of $120,000.

After watching the travesty that was Michael Phelps racing “a great white shark” to kick off Shark Week on Discovery, I have only one thing to say.

I wish it had been a winner-eat-all event.