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The Shotgun/Throwdown: Orange Bowl Eve (1/3/11) 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 The Bruery's Old Richland.

I more day until the 2011 season officially comes to a close for the Mountaineers. As they continue to prepare for the Orange Bowl, we have plenty of player spotlight features today, including a heavy dose of Geno. WVU's defense has a tall task defending Clemson's offense, and Clemson is faced with the same dilemma essentially. Safeties coach Steve Dunlap is being forced to get creative with his personnel with Garvin out, but they seem up to the task. Coach Dawson knew his receivers would put up the numbers this year. All of this and more on this Orange Bowl Eve edition.

What You May Have Missed:

Gold And Blue Now: Tuesday - WVMETRONEWS.COM
the Clemson Tigers says they've found no weaknesses in WVU's offense, Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele compares Dana Holgorsen's offense to one in Canada and the Mountaineers get ready to play in front of family members that have never seen them play in college.

Behind The Scenes - MSNsportsNET.Com
While it may seem a bit far-fetched, Miami Beach has been transformed into Morgantown, W.Va., this week - at least when it comes to the video needs of the Mountaineer football program at the team's headquarters in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

Mountaineers wowed by Miami hotel - Charleston Daily Mail
"It's nice," Holgorsen said not long after arriving in the lobby with the famed bowtie marble pattern. "It's so nice the kids can't afford any of the things that can get them into trouble."

Photo Gallery VIII: WVU Orange Bowl - BGN
On the day before the Orange Bowl, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media for a final time. Here's a look at the scenes from the Harbor Beach Marriott.

Pastilong urges 8 wins minimum - Register-Herald
Like so many folks, Pastilong believes the current minimum of six wins is too low. It is not indicative of a successful season for a 12-game schedule format.

News of Note:

Making a mark - Times West Virginian
Holgorsen finds a way — his way — during first season

Preparing For Bowls Is A Tricky Thing - Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said the heavy lifting was done in Morgantown and the reward, to an extent, is taking place in Miami.

Orange Bowl Will Show Big Offense - Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
"Man, it's two great explosive teams," West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin said.

No pedigree, no problem for WVU's Wright - Charleston Daily Mail
Wright, the Mountaineers' starting nose tackle, is a product of Dr. Michael Krop High, which is located east of Miramar, and in the north sector of Miami-Dade County, Ives Estates just off I-95.

WVU center making up for lost time - Charleston Daily Mail
Last season, after 12 regular-season starts at center, the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder from Chadron, Ohio, missed the Champs Sports Bowl because he was academically ineligible.

Video: West Virginia C Joe Madsen - Big East Blog - ESPN
Andrea Adelson talks with West Virginia C Joe Madsen.

Irvin a sack slacker? No - Charleston Gazette
Offenses went to great lengths to keep end in check

Defensive Backs Have Work Cut Out for them in Orange Bowl - WVillustrated
The game will feature two explosive offenses, and the defenses know they'll be facing a challenge.

WVU Will Rely on Its Pass Rush - WVillustrated
"That's one thing that we've been focusing on this whole bowl season," said WVU defensive end Julian Miller, "just getting pressure on the quarterback, trying to get him a little bit flustered, and definitely being able to penetrate the o-line."

WVU Safeties Petteway and Tonkery Battle for Spur Position - WVillustrated
With the injury to Terence Garvin, both freshmen hope to make the most of their opportunities heading into the Orange Bowl.

Coaches ponder dilemma at safety spots - Charleston Gazette
"I didn't like it,'' safeties coach Steve Dunlap said. "We ended up moving Travis to spur anyway after the first quarter because of what they were doing.''

Tonkery sees opportunity to prove himself in Orange Bowl - Charleston Daily Mail
"I knew this could be a little different," Tonkery said. "Obviously, there's a chance, but I knew I wouldn't be the only one. I knew I wouldn't be welcomed to the position. I knew there would be a fight to get the position."

Receivers Coach Shannon Dawson - Mountaineer TV
West Virginia receivers coach Shannon Dawson talks to reporters this morning at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel.

Shannon Dawson Talks Up Receivers - WVMETRONEWS.COM
Article and videos with Dawson, Stedman and Tavon

Bowl notes: Austin ready for challenge - Charleston Gazette
Vingle's Notebook

Smith is an artist as QB and off field - PPG
In gifted classes since a young age, long before the mountains of West Virginia danced in his head, he excelled in the arts.

Notebook: Backup QB has best view of Smith's work - PPG
Enjoys evolution of offense, but ready, too

Heisman talk could start for QB Smith - Register-Herald
And Wednesday night’s Orange Bowl is a perfect stage for Smith to launch his candidacy to a national audience for 2012.

Bailey, Smith stay on same page - Charleston Gazette
When it comes to bowl games, timing is everything.

Geno Smith Speaks To The Media - Mountaineer TV
Quarterback Geno Smith talked to media members today about growing up in Miami and facing Clemson in Wednesday’s Discover Orange Bowl.

Video: West Virginia QB Geno Smith - Big East Blog - ESPN
Andrea Adelson talks with West Virginia QB Geno Smith.

Alston has come a long way - Register-Herald
WVU junior started season injured, but is now starting running back

Little-known Mountaineers getting noticed - Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Orange Bowl Notebook

Next in Line - MSNsportsNET.Com
West Virginia running backs coach Robert Gillespie says the plan won’t change following last Friday’s knee injury to starting running back Dustin Garrison. It’s simply a matter of the next guy stepping up.

Offensive Players - Mountaineer TV
Select offensive players talk about attacking Clemson's defense.

WVU Offense Talks Orange Bowl Preparation - WVillustrated
Alston, Barclay, Madsen, Coach Dawson, Stedman, Tavon and Geno

West Virginia Air Raid Primer - Shakin The Southland
Clemson's Blog breaks down the WVU offense

HERTZEL COLUMN: Barclay at ease going into finale - Times West Virginian
“We do a lot of the hard work,” Barclay continues. “I’m not saying they don’t do it, too, but we’re not here to do a lot of interviews or get all the press. That doesn’t matter. We’ve been dealing with it forever.”

What they're saying: Clemson defense - Charleston Gazette
A collection of quotes from Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, on preparing for West Virginia's offense

Clemson coordinator finds WVU offense foreign - Charleston Daily Mail
Or, at least as Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said, the Dana Holgorsen-designed spread reminds him of football in a foreign country.

West Virginia and Clemson quarterbacks share a connection - ESPN
Geno Smith and Tajh Boyd are forever and inextricably linked, one quarterback essentially paving the future for another.

Swinney's personality lured Boyd to Clemson - Charleston Daily Mail
"There aren't too many schools you can go to and play for guys like that," Boyd said of Swinney

Clemson tight end eager to face WVU defense - Charleston Daily Mail
"I'm sure they watched film on us and saw that I am a mismatch problem and they're going to have an answer for that," he said.

Around the League (and Beyond):

Conference Power Rankings: Big East - College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN

Big East Basketball Statistical Leaders: Kevin Jones Keeps Conference Lead In Scoring And Rebounding - Big East Coast Bias

Virginia's Bowl Game Uniform...A Prototype For Syracuse? - Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician

New linebacker coach: Chris Haering - Panther's Prey!?!? I mean, we wish him well and all, but why there of all places?

Rick Pitino Talks Kentucky Loss, St. John's Game - Card Chronicle

Game 14: St. John's vs Louisville - Rumble In The Garden

Will UC flourish with reinforcements? - Cincinnati Enquirer

Seton Hall's Solid Play Has UConn Men's Attention - Hartford Courant

What to Watch for: #1 Syracuse comes to Providence - Friar Basketball: PC Hoops For All

Basketball Mid-Season Report - On the Banks

Weekly Watch: Week 4 - ESPN

What's On Tap:

(13) Michigan Wolverines vs. (11) Virginia Tech Hokies - Preview - ESPN
Sugar Bowl - 8:30 pm tonight from Naw'Lins on ESPN. Michigan is giving 2.5.

Video of Interest:

MSN's Tony Caridi and Dwight Wallace review the day the Mountaineers had and get a special guest report from practice.

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Shot-by-shot comparison of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" vs. scenes from 30 different adventure films made between 1919-1973.

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is German model Hana Nitsche. Click on the picture to enjoy today's gallery.


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