Tag Archives: west virginia mountaineers

WVUPros: Former QB Trickett joins Alabama’s coaching staff

Former West Virginia quarterback-turned college coach Clint Trickett is making moves to further his career. Trickett has been with the coaching staff at East Mississippi Community College for the past two seasons. As of yesterday, Coach Trickett is said to be taking his talents to the SEC. Trickett has been hired on at the University of Alabama.

Trickett was the quarterbacks coach at EMCC since graduating from West Virginia. Many became familiar with the Mountaineer after last summer’s standout Netflix series Last Chance U, which chronicled the players on Coach Trickett’s team as they prepared to further their football careers beyond junior college.

Clint Trickett will now take the next step in his career as he takes a role as “support staff” for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. The interesting tidbit to this next step in Trickett’s career is the team Alabama opens up the 2017 season with . . . the Florida State University Seminoles. Why may this be interesting, aside from a step up in the coaching ladder? Trickett’s father, Rick Trickett coaches at Florida State. Father and son going face-to-face to open the 2017 in the new Mercedes Benz Georgia Dome.

Prior to his two seasons at West Virginia, Trickett played quarterback at Florida State so he is extremely familiar with their offense. As of right now, there are not a great amount of details as to his role with the Crimson Tide, but this hire was likely not random as Coach Saban rarely does anything at random.

Clint Trickett has been making a name for himself since his coaching career started since the 2015 season. Now as many Mountaineer faithful cheer him, we can only hope this step puts him one step closer to coaching in the old gold and blue.

Stedman Bailey: Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer

Record-setting receiver Stedman Bailey made a visit to the low country of Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, July 22 for a meet and greet at the Charleston Sports Pub. We sat down with Bailey and talk about his return to West Virginia, what he thinks of the coming season and his future plans.

Bailey played for the Mountaineers during the 2010-2012 seasons, entering the 2013 NFL draft with just less than a year left before obtaining his college degree. Bailey went on to play for the Los Angeles, formerly St. Louis Rams until that unfortunate November evening in the fall of 2015; where Bailey was unfortunately shot in south Florida.

Bailey’s return to the Mountaineers, as a student assistant coach for the upcoming season shows the receiver has the embodiment of the phrase “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.” Sometimes there is truly nothing better than coming home, a place close to home, to both better oneself and give back to a place that gave so much. That’s exactly what Bailey is doing in coming back to West Virginia.

The most important thing about returning to West Virginia for the new student assistant coach is to finish his degree. Bailey has just a handful of classes remaining before graduating and this pretty much number one on his list.

For Bailey, the chance to return to West Virginia and finish his degree sets a precedent for his young son to look up to. Having the opportunity to return to school and complete his education, while assisting with the many talented and young receivers on the football team shows just how deep the Mountaineer spirit is in fan-favorite Stedman Bailey.

Prior to his arrival in Morgantown, Bailey is in contact with the players on the team, making sure they are staying out in shape and getting ready for the upcoming season. Bailey has been given the opportunity to impart his skill and wisdom upon these players.

For the players, it is quite literally a chance to firsthand learn and train with a record-setting athlete. The new coach has high expectations for the Mountaineers this season. Bailey sees a lot of talent on the team. With him being around the players, they are essentially handed a football mentor close to their age who has ran up and down that field countless times before.

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This fall will be a different experience for wide receiver, watching the game as opposed to suiting up and playing. One of Stedman’s best moments at West Virginia was inaugural Big 12 game against Baylor several years ago; a shoot out many fans remember quite fondly.

“With us knowing that they were going to be our first Big 12 opponents,” Bailey told us, “everybody felt that we wanted to make a statement and let these guys know that we’re here and we aren’t to be taken lightly.”

Bailey is working on returning to playing in the NFL, but right now he is returning to Morgantown. He will be a student assistant coach for the Mountaineers for the 2016 season.

He was a member of the first West Virginia team in the Big 12, having played his final season in Morgantown during the school’s inaugural Big 12 season.

When asked who he thought was the Mountaineers’ rival in their relatively new conference, Bailey said “. . . every game is something that you would count as a rival team. Any given Saturday you’re playing an opponent that can probably score a lot of points and no game is to be taken lightly.”

With Big 12 media days having just ended, we asked about Bailey’s thoughts on conference expansion, with the receiver saying how much he enjoys watching “good college football games” and the “. . . better the competition, the better the games would be.”

Not only does he have the opportunity to finish his degree, but he will be continuing to rehab, work out and train to prepare for a return to the NFL.

There is another fan favorite on the Rams team, Bailey’s close friend Tavon Austin. When asked about Tavon’s upcoming season, Bailey said “I think he will do great. He’s been busting his butt this whole off-season.”

Austin has two more years left on his contract with the Rams after they picked up the fifth-year option available to first round picks, and Bailey’s absence from the team this fall will be just another motivation for Austin to go out every Sunday and leave it all on the field in the Rams’s new home of Los Angeles.

Bailey will now get to have that “fan” experience of watching the game as opposed to being one of the key players of the game, taking part in “Country Roads” as a fan cheering on their team after victory, whereas he used to sing the song after being a key part of creating the victory on the field.

“I’m really interested in just seeing what the whole atmosphere is to watch. I never really had that experience. I’m sure it’s a blast.”

Mountaineer fans around the world would be quick to tell him, that yes, that is experience of watching the Mountaineers play is something wonderful.

What happened last fall to Bailey was a terribly unfortunate incident that has created a little bump in the road for the football player. Bailey is handling the situation with great grace and one of the best attitude’s to be seen by anyone. Instead of just waiting to return the NFL, he is bettering himself and giving back to a team and school that loves him so much.

By coming back to West Virginia, Bailey is instilling the “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer” tradition, and showing the new Mountaineers how to make the best out of every situation. We are hopeful that after returning to West Virginia and completing his degree, Bailey makes that return to the NFL and our Sunday afternoons see him back on the field.

Whatever his future may hold, this Mountaineer has shown Mountaineer pride and that he is capable of literally quite anything.

Bruce Irvin: The Greatest Mountaineer of All Time?

 

Now that I’ve elevated the blood pressure of Sam Huff and Pat White loyalists I should point out what exactly the headline to this article is suggesting. I am not suggesting that as it stands today Bruce Irvin is the greatest Mountaineer of all time.

What I am saying is there is an argument to be made that Irvin has the potential, when it is all said and done, to be at least in the discussion as an all time great.  Lets examine why Bruce Irvin possesses the ingredients for such lofty expectations.

While Irvin only played two years at WVU, they were two of the most productive seasons by a defensive end in the program’s history. Bruce transferred from Mt. San Antonio College in California to West Virginia prior to the 2010 season. Irvin gained points with Mountaineer faithful before playing a snap by choosing WVU over programs such as Tennessee and Arizona State. Irvin was billed as a premier pass rusher and fans had high hopes for the four star prospect. Once Irvin arrived on campus fans immediately took to Irvin as did Irvin to Morgantown. It really was a love at first sight situation. Once the 2010 season started Irvin lived up to his hype and recorded 14 sacks. Every sack was followed up by the now famous chant of “Bruuuuuce” raining down from the Mountaineer Field.

In 2011 Irvin had another stellar season en route to being named to the All Big East team and an SI.com Honorable Mention All-American. Irvin added another 8.5 sacks to his career total despite constantly being doubled and sometime triple teamed. Bruce Irvin was the player that fans, young and old, zoned in on to watch every down he was on the field. In year two what really became apparent is Bruce Irvin loved Morgantown, the state of West Virginia, and its people. During interviews, social media postings, and interactions with the crowd during games a special bond was established between Irvin and West Virginians that still exists to this day.

After completing his two standout seasons at WVU Irvin was selected as the 15th overall pick in the NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Throughout the draft process and his rookie year, despite moving on to the NFL, Irvin continued to mention his love of West Virginia and its fans. Irvin often compared WVU fan’s passion to those of Seattle’s 12th man fan base. Even though Irvin had moved to the NFL he proudly kept his twitter handle as @BIrvin_WVU11 .

Once in Seattle Irvin’s success continued. Irvin’s rookie season he had 8 sacks as a pass rushing specialist. Irvin would be a key part in what most would consider the NFL’s best defense from 2012 to 2014. In 2014 Irvin and the Seahawks would be crowned Super Bowl champions as Irvin’s string of accomplishments grew. This past offseason Irvin became a prized free agent and signed a four year 37 million dollar contract with the Oakland Raiders.

BRaQcr4CMAEFnr0Despite his success at the NFL level Irvin has maintained his ties to WVU and Morgantown. After signing his rookie contract with the Seahawks Irvin immediately made a $100,000 donation to the Mountaineer Athletic Club to be put towards the new weight room. As a result the Bruce Irvin Speed and Conditioning Zone was born.

At the time Bruce stated, ““It certainly helped me,” Irvin said of his two seasons at WVU. “I could have gone to any school in the country coming out of junior college, and I chose West Virginia because I felt like it was the perfect fit and it was. Not talking bad about my family, but playing for that state and that school … you’re family.

“It taught me a lot about loyalty and going into the draft, the only people who believed in me were West Virginians. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. I don’t even go back to Atlanta, when I come home I come to West Virginia and I consider that my home. Hopefully, one day when I’m done I wouldn’t mind settling there.”

Quotes like this is what really brings Irvin into the discussion as being one of the greatest Mountaineers to ever wear the uniform. Irvin has gone on to great success at the next level but still has such a deep passion and respect for the state of West Virginia. For West Virginians this is as an important quality as any. Bruce routinely returns to Morgantown for the spring game and during bye weeks.

I’ve personally observed Bruce Irvin in the Blue Lot before games talking with fans, laughing and having a great time.  And as always Irvin loves to take to Twitter to let his fans in West Virginia know exactly how he feels about them. Below are some recent Bruce Irvin quotes from his twitter account to prove my point.

 

Man I miss that Bruce chant! RT

— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) May 26, 2016

 

Should I get the flying wv at the bottom of my pool?

— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) March 3, 2016

 

Wish I could be in the coliseum tonight! I knomy dawg@CoachHuggs and the boys gonhold it down! I’m tuned in! #pressvirginia

— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) January 12, 2016

 

Love seeing all my wvufamily in az!

— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) January 2, 2016

 

Merry Christmas to my great people in West Virginia!

— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) December 25, 2015

 

Bruce Irvin came to West Virginia University and had an outstanding career which helped propel him into the NFL as a first round draft pick. Irvin became a Super Bowl champion and a member one of the NFL’s best defenses of the past two decades.

Bruce’s hard work enabled him to become a top-tier free-agent and sign with the Oakland Raiders in 2016. The table is set for Irvin to enter his prime and continue writing what has been an incredible story.

Despite all his success and accolades Irvin has always held a special place in his heart for the state and people of West Virginian. It is truly amazing for West Virginians when an athlete like Bruce Irvin is humble and appreciative enough to understand what makes West Virginia such a unique and special place.

Bruce Irvin might not finish his career with a resume like a Sam Huff and he probably has an uphill battle to be considered the greatest Mountaineer of all time but one title he might already locking down is the most BELOVED Mountaineer of all time.

WVUPros Summer Outlook: Geno Smith

Geno Smith’s current status with the Jets is examined, as well as what he needs to do to maintain the role of starting quarterback.

Last August, everyone knew about the incident that Geno Smith was involved in, breaking his jaw and giving Ryan Fitzpatrick center stage as the Jets quarterback for the season. Almost a year has passed since that infamous jaw break and Smith’s status with the Jets is still undetermined. Fitzpatrick and the Jets have yet to come to terms on Fitz’s contract, making Smith’s position and status with the team still so unknown.

Quarterbacks are supposed to be the leader of the team, and Smith showed during his time at West Virginia that he was more than capable of being the leader. Once Smith got to New York during his rookie season, the Jets offense did not perform as expected. One could argue that while the quarterback is the leader of the team, he also relies heavily on his receiving corps. The 2013 Jets receivers were not the strongest of receiving corps that season, and many believed that Smith under performed and did not live up to the expectations set for him. Smith’s 2014 season was seen with improvement upon his rookie season, but still not quite where he was hoped to be.

Going into the 2015 season, Smith was poised to have a pair of dream receivers in Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. This was supposed to be Smith’s season to shine in the NFL. As everyone knows, that just simply did not happen. Smith sat out the majority of the season, playing in only one game, several snaps, and quite obviously did not have the season he was expected to have. What would have happened had Smith not broken his jaw? Would his stats have improved? Would his performance have been as great as hoped last August?

According to an article from ESPN, Smith’s stats were practically shocking when either Eric Decker and/or Jeremy Kerley were on or off the field. For Smith, when either of the two receivers were on the field, the quarterback made 622 attempts compared to just 188 attempts with both off of the field. This simple statistic helps to show that Smith as the quarterback has more options for success when there are better receivers on the field to get to the ball. Smith’s completion percentage increased by over ten percent with either of the two on the field, at 60.5 percent, as opposed to 47.9 percent with both off the filed. The statistics show simply that while a quarterback is the leader of team, a quarterback does need quality receivers to be successful.

For Smith, the next matter to look at is the fan’s opinions and outcry of Jets fans. Recently, the Jets hosted a town hall of sorts, where owner Woody Johnson and coach Todd Bowles answered fan questions. Unfortunately, when Smith’s name was brought up, the crowd reaction was not a positive reaction. That being said, Smith needs to use this summer’s workouts and OTAs to show that he is the man for the job, and most importantly that he wants to be the man for the job. Smith needs to show both the fans and the coaching staff that he can be the quarterback to rely on come September.

Since the Jets are still uncertain as to what is going on with Fitzpatrick’s contract status, the smart thing to do is to prepare as if he is not going to be with the organization come September. The Jets need to use OTAs and the summer to prepare Smith, get him comfortable with the receiving duo of Decker and Marshall, and most importantly make him the man for the job.

If the Jets continue on in this limbo of who’s going to be the quarterback and questioning Fitzpatrick’s contact, the entire state of the offense will be in a state of unrest and unknown. Smith and the offense need to connect, and work on bringing a successful game to the field this fall, and not waste time worrying about what’s going on with contract negotiations.

Smith’s career with the Jets thus far has been a bit dramatic and tumultuous. It is known that he is capable of being a successful quarterback, just look at his time at West Virginia, but Smith needs to show that he is capable of making the most of what he’s working with on the Jets offense. Smith needs to connect with Decker and Marshall, and make his coaches and teammates see he is the top option for starting quarterback come fall.

The Jets also picked up Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg in this April’s Draft, and so far they have yet to see anything dynamic from the rookie during OTAs. Being the rookie at OTAs is an intimidating situation, but for Smith, Hackenberg’s performance can help to further pave Smith’s way into the role of starting quarterback. Hackenberg’s performance has been less than stellar thus far, no one knows what is going on with Fitzpatrick and his contract, and Smith is just trying to show that he can have that breakout season, just a year later than predicted. With so much uncertainty, this is the time for Smith to show he is the best, and quite possibly the only, option for the Jets at quarterback.

 

WVUPros summer outlook: Will Clarke

Second-year defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals, Will Clarke, will look to move into a bigger role with the Bengals defense this fall. During the 2015 season, Clarke played in 12 games, participating in 134 snaps. Clarke also accounted for two tackles last fall. Going into the summer, the Bengals defense will look to Clarke to find a way to make more dynamic plays that will be used during the fall season.

Clarke logged 62 snaps during his rookie season, and practically doubled that in the 2015 season. If Clarke were to continue on that upward trend, he should be able to show enough growth and improvement, he would likely ensure his spot on the defense. Summer workouts and OTAs are a great time for players to show improvement and guarantee their starting positions for the upcoming season. For Clarke, that option is no different. By excelling during OTAs, Clarke has the option to show that he can and will be one of the top defensive ends for the team.

Clarke earned All-Big 12 Honors his senior season at West Virginia, after having a career-high season with the Mountaineers. Now going into his third season in the NFL, Clarke needs to show the Bengals organization that he is still capable of making the plays that were made during his 2013 season in Morgantown. Should Clarke be able excel during this summer’s workouts, he will hopefully have proven himself to be one of the starting defensive ends for every game this fall.

Defensive ends play a vital role of every defense and the Bengals will need Clarke and the rest of the Bengals defense to grow as a team and single unit during this summer in order to show marked improvement from last season. As OTAs and summer workouts continue, Clarke will use this time to show his improvement and further define his role on the Bengals team.

WVUPros summer outlook: Mark Glowinski

We examine Seahawks’ guard Mark Glowinski and his emerging role for the team.

Last season, rookie Mark Glowinski shared the Seahawks bench with fellow Mountaineer Bruce Irvin. In Glowinksi’s second season in the NFL, Glowinski looks to grow into a more defined role with the team as the lone Mountaineer on the bench. Glowinski was a stand out guard during his time at West Virginia, and has the potential to make the same name for himself at Seattle.

Glowinksi had one start at left guard during his rookie season in the fall. Going into this summer, Glowinski now has the potential to take on the role of left guard in a more permanent manner, as J.R. Sweezy is no longer with the Seahawks. During the off-season, Glowinski has been spotted working out with fellow teammate and fellow lineman, Justin Britt. The two linemen have been working out together, and while it is still semi-unclear as to which of the teammates will get the role of starting left guard, the duo will be able to say they are both working hard to get ready for the fall’s season.

With Glowinski using his time during the off-season to make the most of his workouts, it is clear that the Seahawks linemen are making strides to again be one of the top offensive lines in the league. Glowinski’s single start during his rookie season last falls showed the promise and potential that Glowinski has for a long career in Seattle.

The Seahawks start OTAs this week, giving fans and coaches a first glimpse at the improvement made by Glowinski and his fellow linemen. Over the next few weeks, Glowinksi’s role on the Seahawks offensive line will likely be more carved out and defined as we look to the fall season.

 

WVUPros summer outlook: Kevin White

Last spring, the Chicago Bears scored big in the NFL draft with the selection of wide receiver Kevin White. Unfortunately, as many are well aware of, White suffered a rookie season-ending shin injury before the season was actually started. Bears fans have spent the past year getting to know White as a person, not a player, and are now looking forward to seeing White perform like he did during his years in Morgantown.

Going into the summer, White has stated that he is ready to get back to football. There was a brief thought that White would see playing time toward the end of last season, but that did not happen so White has yet to see a snap as an NFL wide receiver. With this summer’s workouts and preseason ball around the corner, the Bears will have a bevy of talent to look forward to in a healthy Kevin White. All that Bears fans know of White at this point is the extreme speed and athleticism he showed at West Virginia. White is a broad-shouldered athlete with great speed to carry his amass of strength and muscle.

The Bears organization looks to pair White up with Alshon Jeffrey during the season, a duo that will bring the offense a great force to be reckoned with come fall. Now that White has healed and recovered, he will likely have a great amount of eyes on him this summer. It goes without saying that many fans will be eager to watch White develop into the NFL wide receiver everyone has been waiting to see since April of 2015.

Tavon Austin has fifth year contract option exercised

Tavon Austin now knows he will be continuing his NFL journey with the Los Angeles Rams through the 2017 season.

Just this week, Austin saw the Rams office exercising his fifth-year contract extension option as the team prepares for the upcoming season. With the Rams drafting quarterback Jared Goff as the number one pick of this years draft, the organization needs more consistency with their offense. Over the past three years, Austin has been a consistent player for the offense, seeing more and more playing time with each season. Now, with the addition of Goff at quarterback, the team needs consistency and players who are able to perform; both of these skills are exemplified by Austin.

Austin will make $12 million under the contract extension terms, with the option to extend his contract with the Rams for a longer period of time after 2017. Austin has played in 44 games since his rookie season in 2013, as well as setting career highs last season with his 52 catches, five touchdowns and 473 receiving yards. Austin was known as a speedy force on the Mountaineers offense and is continuing that trend with the Rams. It is the hope of many Rams and Mountaineers fans, with the Rams coaching staff liking sharing that hope, that Austin and his new quarterback developed a quick relationship and provide the team with explosive plays come this fall.

Austin has proved himself to be one of the most explosive wide receivers in football, based off of both his collegiate and professional careers. Now that Austin and the Rams have a new quarterback, both fans and Austin alike look to see Goff getting more balls thrown to Austin and letting him explode on the football field. Austin has the capability to be a vital member of not only the offense, but special teams as well. Given this contract extension, look for more play time for Austin come fall and expect to see him making big plays with number one draft pick Jared Goff.

Quick Hit: Wendell Smallwood signs contract with Philadelphia

Wendell Smallwood (4) carries the ball against Texas Tech on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at Milan Puskar Stadium. (Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)
Wendell Smallwood (4) carries the ball against Texas Tech on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at Milan Puskar Stadium.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

PHILADELPHIA–Less than a week after being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, former West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood inked his contract with the team.

Philadelphia drafted Smallwood during the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday afternoon.

The 2015 Big 12 leading rusher and four other draft picks signed with the Eagles on Wednesday afternoon. Each contract is for four years.

According to overthgcap.com, Smallwood is projected to make as follows:

 Player 2016 2017 2018 2019
 Wendell Smallwood $511,145 $601,145 $691,145 $781,145

 

Philadelphia has a rookie camp scheduled for May 13 to 15.

 

Cover Photo Courtesy of Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS.