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The Shotgun/Throwdown: Monday (12/27/10) Edition

Welcome, By-Godders, to the Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU's nationally recognized best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor and daily distractions. We're being brought to you today by Winter Solstice Ale.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. It's Champs Sports Bowl Eve and the word of the day is "focus." The Mountaineers have a final walk through today after a weekend of practice in what should have been a warm, sunny, Florida...but the weather hasn't completely cooperated. There's also some nice features on some of the Mountaineer seniors.

If you have any tips, suggestions or requests for content that you think is worth sharing, you can send them to me by email or Twitter and don't forget to "LIKE" the Smoking Musket MAIN PAGE on Facebook (follow this link, then hit "LIKE"). If any of you didn't realize, clicking on "LIKE" on the individual articles just likes that particular article, but doesn't "LIKE" our main page. Many thanks to those who "LIKE" us already. We now stand at 553. We're still a long way from the 17000+ for our old page, but we're working on it. Our next goal is 600. Spread the word and see if we can get there by the end of 2010!! We can do it, but we need your help. Your daily WVU news is after the jump...

What You May Have Missed:

2010 Gazette Sportsman of the Year - Charleston Gazette
WVU's Huggins has found success and serenity at home

Bill Stewart: Final Practice Presser -
Stewart talks about his team's final practice and what he thought the Mountaineers did too much of in last year's bowl game.

Champs Sports Bowl Notebook - MSNsportsNET.Com

Chesapeake Energy Bowl Report - Mountaineer TV
Champs Sports Bowl report for Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. Presented by Chesapeake Energy.

West Virginia Lottery Bowl Report - Mountaineer TV
Sunday Champs Sports Bowl report. Presented by West Virginia Lottery.

Football: Saturday Practice Quotes - MSNsportsNET.Com

Football: Sunday Practice Quotes - MSNsportsNET.Com

Quoting The Coach - WVMETRONEWS.COM

VIDEO: Coach Stewart and Players on First Day of Practice -
HCBS, Geno, Jock, Neild, Starks and Jobe

VIDEO: Coach Stewart and Players on Final Day of Practice -
HCBS, Mullen, Casteel, Sands, Noel, J.T. and Scooter

Preview: Champs Sports Bowl - BGN

Supporting The Mountaineers - WVMETRONEWS.COM
Former Mountaineer Charlie Baumann

Nick Saban Remains Mountaineer Fan - WVMETRONEWS.COM

Butler Back On The Court - WVMETRONEWS.COM
Da`Sean, that is

News of Note:

Stewart: Players, Coaches Focused - MSNsportsNET.Com

WVU Bowl Practice Shortage Demands Increased Focus -

West Virginia focuses on Champs Sports Bowl - PPG

WVU keeps focus amid distractions - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

No distractions for coach Stewart - Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Stewart says WVU will be ready against N.C. State - Charleston Daily Mail

Kickoff closing in for WVU - Bluefield Daily Telegraph

'Eers ready for Wolfpack - Martinsburg Journal
Mickey's Column

Yes, we are talking about practice - 'Eers to the Ground

Some notes from (a cold) Sunday practice - 'Eers to the Ground

Mountaineers can't escape winter weather - Charleston Gazette
Hickman's Notebook

Orlando weather not welcoming - Times West Virginian
Hertzel Column

Final Bowl Game Practice - WVMETRONEWS.COM
Article and gallery

Five Questions - MSNsportsNET.Com

Five Burning Questions for WVU in the Champs Sports Bowl -

Christmas cheer? Stew didn't have much - 'Eers to the Ground

A very Mountaineer Christmas - Times West Virginian
Hertzel Column

What Eric Jobe had to say - 'Eers to the Ground

WVU OL Eric Jobe Forced into Familiar Role -

Bowers Back in Starting Role - BGN

Under Pressure - MSNsportsNET.Com
The OL is profiled

Rebuilt offensive line raises some questions for West Virginia - PPG

Who has the big game for West Virginia? - 'Eers to the Ground

Jeff Casteel: Defending Wilson -
Casteel talks about how he plans to contain NC State's elusive quarterback Russell Wilson in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Jeff Casteel: The Final Days -
WVU's defensive coordinator talks about what his players are working on in the final practice before the Champs Sports Bowl.

Jeff Mullen: Final Prep Day -
Mullen talks about how prepared he feels the team is for NC State and give his thoughts on coaching his last game for the Mountaineers.

Devine career spans best, worst times - Times West Virginian
Hertzel Column

Noel Devine: Ready To Impress -
Devine says he's excited and focused for his final game as a Mountaineer.

'It was the right decision' - Charleston Gazette
Despite mixed results, Devine and Sanders have no regrets about returning for senior year

West Virginia's Sanders matures on and off field - PPG

Finishing strong - Times West Virginian
WVU’s Sanders ending college career on high

Jock Sanders: Rallying Together -
The Mountaineers' senior slot receiver talks about the emotions of playing in his last college game in his home state and how the team will have to work together against the Wolfpack.

Close To The Heart - BGN
Blurb and video interview with J.T. Thomas

JT Thomas: The Final Stretch -
Thomas talks about what it has meant for him to be a Mountaineer and follow in his father's footsteps.

WVU Safety Robert Sands Faces Big Decision -

Robert Sands: The Final Time In The Gold and Blue? -
Sands talks about playing in his home state and possibly playing his last game if he leaves for the NFL Draft.

Hogan’s journey coming to end - Times West Virginian

Photo Gallery II: WVU Practice - BGN3

Photo Gallery IV: WVU Practice 12/26 - BGN

WVU's Geno Smith isn't ready to talk about next season - Charleston Daily Mail

Smith has matured as Mountaineers’ quarterback - Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Champs Sports Bowl Report - Mountaineer TV
West Virginia players visit Universal Studios Thursday morning in Orlando.

VIDEO: WVU Football at Universal Orlando Resort -

VIDEO: WVU Holder Jeremy Kash Goes Behind the Scenes at Universal -

Dunlap pays for his find - Charleston Gazette
Coach Dunlap recruited Wilson for NCSU

Playing in the NFL would be a dream for N.C. State's Wilson - Charleston Daily Mail

Wilson, ‘Pack challenge for ‘Eers - Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Defending Wilson - WVMETRONEWS.COM

Wilson is key to North Carolina State’s offense - Parkersburg News and Sentinel

N.C. State defense compared to LSU, South Florida - Register-Herald
Mickey's Column

Around the League (and Beyond):

Big East Breakdown: Part Three - WVMETRONEWS.COM

Big East basketball roars back to top of the pack - Post Standard

Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell shot during robbery while back at home in Harlem - Star Ledger

Syracuse University coaches, some players make it to New York for Pinstripe Bowl - Post Standard

Note: Corey Fisher Heating Up? - The Nova Blog

Louisville-Kentucky not likely to follow script in rivalry game - Courier-Journal

Pitt Vs. UConn Basketball Always A Big Game - Cardiac Hill

ESPN's schedulers doubt Calhoun, get what they deserve - The UConn Blog

Questions lead Cincinnati Bearcats into Big East play - Cincinnati Enquirer

What's On Tap:

(4) Connecticut Huskies vs. (6) Pittsburgh Panthers - ESPN
8:30 tonight at the Pete on ESPN2

Morgan State Bears vs. (25) Louisville Cardinals - ESPN
8:00 tonight from the Chicken Box on the BE Network (including MASN) and ESPN3

Champs Sports Bowl Info:

Football: Champs Sports Bowl Tickets - MSNsportsNET.Com

Football: Alumni Association Travel Packages - MSNsportsNET.Com

Champs Sports Bowl Fan Central
Info page, seating charts, merchandise, discount opportunities, etc.

Bowl Game 2010 | Leave the Team a Message - West Virginia University

Mountaineers can take advantage of fan activities at Champs Sports Bowl - WVU Today

Champs Sports Bowl's fun pre-game events - Charleston Gazette

Videos of Interest:

Video of (Dis)Interest:

I know some of you look at this as the beginning of a/the downturn, but whatever your opinion, it sure was nice to stick it to the 84% of the country that picked against us that season.

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is California native Kelly Brannigan. As usual, click on her pic for a gallery.

Winter Solstice Ale image via