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The Shotgun/Throwdown: Tuesday (9/13/11) 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 Aleksandrya beer, in honor of today's Miss Throwdown.

Preparation for Maryland is in full swing, as WVU finally gets a normal game week with the full allotment of workouts and meetings to ready themselves. The offensive struggles have the first year head coach in a generally unhappy mood these days. He, like many others among us, is anxious to see what his team is really made of this week as they hit the road for the first time. One piece of good news is that running game has gotten a boost with the clearance of Shawne Alston to practice. As it's noted later, he won't necessarily play this week, but it's a step in the right direction. Also worth noting is that Tavon is having an issue with a finger, but is still expected to play this weekend.

What You May Have Missed:

Mountaineer Monday - Mountaineer TV
Tony Caridi and Dwight Wallace review the Norfolk State game and preview this week's varsity sports action

Open Letter to WVU Fans From Oliver Luck - MSNsportsNET.Com
Oliver Luck has taken issue with a certain form of expression (I tend to agree, in this case)

WVU football: Austin has 'work' done on finger - Charleston Daily Mail
Holgorsen said Austin was kept out of Sunday's practice and iced the hand throughout. The team was off Monday. Holgorsen said Austin will be checked out today and he expected the junior to practice and be available for Saturday's game at Maryland (1-0).

Smith Earns Big East Honors For Second Week - WVMETRONEWS.COM
Named to the Honor Roll portion of the weekly list

VSR: Lewis Named Student-Athlete of the Week - MSNsportsNET.Com
Varsity Sports Report

Who Will Join Texas A&M as SEC's 14th Team? Ft. West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville -
Their best guesses ranked with imagined odds

NCAA College Football Power Rankings Week 2 - ESPN
#19 Here

Championship path full of stumbling blocks for non-SEC teams - Sporting News

College Football Alphabetical, Week 2: The Virtues Of Mediocre Entertainment -
EDSBS's Spencer Hall goes through the ABC's and get's to WVU at the letter V

News of Note:

Holgorsen: Blocking, tackling need work - Inter-Mountain
WVU travels to Maryland on Saturday after pulling away from Norfolk State

Fun rivalry continues this weekend - Daily Athenaeum
WVU leads the all-time series with a record of 24-21-2, winning the last five meetings.

Serious time for football - Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Now that we have gotten all the games against the East Cupcake States of the college football world out of the way, it's time to get serious.

Mountaineers need stronger start Saturday at Maryland - Charleston Gazette
"I still don't know where we're at,'' Holgorsen said. "This next week will tell a lot. When you go up against a good team on the road they're going to expose some things and we're going to continue to adjust the things that get exposed.''

WVU offense not yet fit to ship - Charleston Daily Mail
Even the head coach admits some uncertainty. He has no clue how explosive his team can be, even after 35 points in 20 plays Saturday - because he saw only 10 points on 33 plays before that.

WVU’s go-to guy still MIA ... and might not even be necessary - Charleston Gazette
"We haven't found our go-to guy,'' Smith said. "We're still looking for someone to step up and just be that guy. It's still wide open right now.''

Mountaineers finally get routine week - Charleston Daily Mail
The team will have the full allotment of workouts, meetings and practices this week before Saturday's noon ESPNU telecast game at Maryland (1-0).

Holgorsen wants to see improvements from Mountaineer offense soon - Daily Athenaeum
"Top to bottom, there aren't many teams that have more weapons than we do. We just have to come in week in and week out and prove it."

Coach not sure where WVU stands - Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Maryland game will provide answers

History backs up WVU offense - Register-Herald
“We have some guys who can make some plays but we don’t have a lot of offensive rhythem right now,” Holgorsen said. “I’m not pleased with anybody right now. The offensive line, the receivers, the running backs, no matter what it was. Like I said, we have a couple guys who can make a few plays, but we’re not pleased with anybody right now.”

HERTZEL COLUMN - Pitt, WVU follow same path to Brawl - Times West Virginian
“I had no idea where we would be,” he said. “Each year is different. You have to take what you’ve got and figure out what’s best for you. If you are hitting stride at this time of year you would either be a very experienced team or one that was going to regress as the year went on.”

A Test Awaits - BGN
Despite telling his players all week that they should respect FCS opponent Norfolk State, Dana Holgorsen said Monday he doesn’t believe West Virginia heeded that advice. He expects few such problems, though, when the No. 18 Mountaineers travel to Maryland this Saturday.

Freshman backup QB Millard takes advantage of opportunity in first game - Daily Athenaeum
"Paul needed those reps," Smith said. "He needs game experience because anything can happen. God forbid I go down and he would have to step up."

Keeping 'Em Honest - MSNsportsNET.Com
“How many yards you rush for is not nearly as important as the defense respecting the fact that you are able to run the ball,” Holgorsen explained. “If they come into the game saying, you know what, they can’t run the ball and we’re going to drop eight all the time, that’s going to be a challenge for us offensively. I don’t care about the numbers, I just want the defense to know that we can do both.”

WVU Rusher Alston Says He's Cleared to Play - WV Illustrated
Just because Alston says he's been cleared to play doesn't mean he's necessarily at 100 percent and ready to go at Maryland this Saturday, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Around the League (and Beyond):

Commisioner Slive Talks Conference Alignment - SEC
"In the 78 year history of the SEC, the conference had accepted the membership applications of only two institutions—Arkansas and South Carolina. Texas A&M is now the third."

Realignment threats creating game of chicken in college athletics - Andy Staples -

Week Two Expectations And Reality: Big East - Football Study Hall
A recap of the Big East's performance in Week Two of the college football season. Among the underachievers: Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Cincinnati and Connecticut.

Big East Football Week 2: Not Meeting Expectations - Big East Coast Bias

Big East Coaches Teleconference Notes - Big East Coast Bias

Is Louisville football critique a motivator? - Courier-Journal

Bearcats regroup from blowout - Cincinnati Enquirer

Maturing Daniels off to hot start for USF - Tampa Tribune

Syracuse vs. USC: Chandler Jones Will Miss Another Game - Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician

UConn Football Media Day: Shoemate Should Play Vs. Iowa State - Hartford Courant

Rutgers Greg Schiano says offensive-line recruiting has dipped in recent years - Star Ledger

Pitt Vs. Maine: 48 Hours Later And It's Still Bad - Cardiac Hill

2011 College Football Interactive Map - USDirect
Check out the 2011 NCAA college football conference realignment with this interactive map. See up-to-date conference and team schedules, AP Poll, and conference championships. - This will get a permanent link on the front page

Video of Interest:

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is a Victoria's Secret Angel from Belarus. If I weren't already committed to Candice, I'd be tempted. Here's Katsia Damankova (click on her picture for a large gallery).

Aleksandrya image via