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Mountaineer Morning Links: Liberty Bowl Game Day (12/29/14) Edition

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Liberty Bowl previews & features galore, Hoops notes, WVUPros updates, Big 12 roundup, today's bowl guide, tailgate prep & more.

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Welcome, By-Godders, to the Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU's best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor and daily distractions. We're being brought to you today by Anchor Brewing Company's Liberty Ale, in preparation for today's Liberty Bowl game.


What You May Have Missed:

Huggins ready for different challenge vs. VT - BGN
It’s been a few years since a Buzz Williams-coached team came into the Coliseum to take on West Virginia.

Huggins Talks Buzz's Dance, Virginia Tech - EerSports
After a come-from-behind victory over West Virginia two years ago, then-Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams danced a little ditty on the "flying WV" in the WVU Coliseum

WVU Wraps Up Nonconference Slate Monday - WVU Athletics
Tip-off against the Red Flash is set for 7 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.

Might Holgorsen promote OC from within? ‘Everything’s a possibility’ - WV MetroNews
On the eve of the Liberty Bowl, West Virginia's head coach says he hasn't decided how he'll replace Shannon Dawson.

Yes, five concussions are a few too many - Charleston Gazette
By all rights, Clint Trickett seems like a pretty smart guy.

Bobby Bowden: "There's no doubt in my mind this Trickett will be - WVillustrated
The legendary football coach shares his thoughts on WVU's bowl game, West Virginians in college coaching and how Clint Trickett will do as he begins his coaching career.

FURFARI: Questions raised in handling of Trickett's retirement at WVU - Times West Virginian
There were conflicting stories leading up to Clint Trickett’s sudden announcement last Friday that he has decided to give up football.

WVU football's chief of staff aims to ensure program runs smoothly - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Hammond is the point man for Holgorsen in most outside-the-lines matters. His turf includes the athletic administration, compliance, boosters and the media.

RIP NDH - Exponent Telegram
The news broke the other day, as news so often does these days, on social media … Twitter, to be exact.

News of Note:

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Preview - WVU Athletics
Tony Caridi and Dwight Wallace break down today's AutoZone Liberty Bowl game against Texas A&M

White Eyes Final WVU Game on Monday - WVU Athletics
You can add Kevin White's name to the list of WVU greats.

WVU’s White can leave lasting impression in Liberty Bowl - Charleston Daily Mail
"I’ve never read an article about the next level or the success I’m having," he said.

WVU’s White will be ready when Aggies get physical - Charleston Gazette
Texas A&M defensive back Deshazor Everett will have his hands full with WVU's Kevin White in the Liberty Bowl.

WVU’s White ready for Texas A&M - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
With backup quarterback Skyler Howard taking over under center, coach Dana Holgorsen said White "needs to be" ready.

The future has become bright for Kevin White - Big 12 Blog - ESPN
Thanks in part to one offseason meeting, WVU's Kevin White has gone from pondering his future to steps away from fulfilling his dream.

White puts it all together in senior season - Exponent Telegram
You feel like he was just getting started this year, that there was so much more there, but his time was up.

White will give Aggies problems - Martinsburg Journal
Texas A&M interim defensive coordinator Mark Hagen knows his secondary has a big challenge ahead of them Monday in the Liberty Bowl.

Texas A&M simplifying approach to defense - Charleston Gazette
Somewhat lost in all of that, however, is another essential element of mystery — what will Texas A&M’s defense look like?

Ready or not, Howard’s the WVU QB - Charleston Gazette
Skyler Howard will get his second start at quarterback for the Mountaineers in Monday's Liberty Bowl against Texas A&M.

Sky is the limit for young West Virginia quarterback - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"You don’t know how guys are going to be until they get out there and play."

Unlikely QBs set for Liberty Bowl spotlight - Charleston Gazette
The starting quarterbacks for Monday’s Liberty Bowl weren’t expected to be under center at the end of the season when it started back in August.

Backup QBs for WVU, Texas A&M getting their shot in Liberty Bowl - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Both teams are 7-5. Coached by like-minded former colleagues, they share the same offensive philosophy. Now the Aggies and Mountaineers have another thing in common: Quarterbacks who have been elevated from back-up to bowl-game starter.

Howard’s confidence wins over teammates, worries Texas A&M - WV MetroNews
Late-season play shows junior college transfer isn't the same confused-looking quarterback from last spring.

Howard's steady progression leads to starting spot - Exponent Telegram
Howard came in this spring with a chance to earn the backup spot and with Clint Trickett’s surgically repaired shoulder healing, he was given every opportunity to impress and failed to do so.

Holgorsen keeping starting quarterback a secret from opponent - Register Herald
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen likely has known for days — if not weeks — which quarterback will be his starter today against Texas A&M. But he sees no reason to tell the media or, more importantly, the Texas A&M coaches exactly who it will be.

WVU QB Skyler Howard: "I'm Ready" - WVillustrated
Howard's coaches and teammates express their confidence in him to step up for the Mountaineers in Monday's Liberty Bowl against Texas A&M.

Liberty Bowl notebook: A&M end grew up a WVU fan; Shell fully recovered - Charleston Daily Mail
Hagen is replacing former Marshall coach Mark Snyder, who was fired at the end of the regular season.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Notebook - WVU Athletics
notes leading into Monday's game against Texas A&M.

WVU, A&M staffs share several ties - Charleston Daily Mail
You could forgive the ambitious and impressive Oklahoma assistant for thinking he had it all figured out in the winter days of late 2007.

Liberty Bowl notebook: Practices upbeat for Mountaineers - Charleston Gazette
It’s pretty much unheard of for coaches to bemoan a team’s preparation for a football game, especially a bowl game.

Mountaineers 'excited' about preparation for Liberty Bowl - Register Herald
Dancer, Prancer and Rudolph may have been worn down Christmas night, but West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said his Mountaineers arrived in Memphis, Tenn., rested and refreshed.

Protege Spavital takes on mentor Holgorsen - Charleston Gazette
Yet both know this all too well: The other is likely to do something entirely unexpected, or at least unconventional, when the teams meet Monday afternoon.

Tweeting with the enemy: Coaches no strangers - Register Herald
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was on a recruiting visit when the news broke that his Mountaineers would be playing Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl. Shortly after receiving calls with news of the game and opponent, his phone rang again.

Spavital’s WVU legacy lives on in recruits like Worley, White - WV MetroNews
There's more than just a coaching connection between Texas A&M's coordinator and the Mountaineers team he'll face in the Liberty Bowl.

Togther Again - Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Old friends will meet for first time today in Liberty Bowl

Hidden Angle In WVU vs Texas A&M Bowl - BGN
The familiarity factor in the 2014 Liberty Bowl isn't limited to just Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital and the Mountaineer coaching staff.

In Liberty Bowl, there are few secrets between West Virginia, Texas A&M - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
"We are going to change our entire offense," Holgorsen joked at the first bowl news conference a few weeks back.

Ex-WVU Asst Jake Spavital Talks Mountaineers - BGN
When Jake Spavital came to West Virginia, his initial goals were to continue learning under head coach Dana Holgorsen and to one day amass enough experience to call plays at the Power Five level. When Texas A&M gave the assistant that chance, Spavital grasp it. But there's still found memories of Morgantown, and here the A&M coordinator discusses those and his time at WVU.

WVU Hopes To Set It Straight - Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
West Virginia hasn’t exactly been a juggernaut when it comes to bowl games.

50 years later, West Virginia returns to wildly different Liberty Bowl - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
"It was just unusual being indoors playing a football game," said Ed Pastilong, a backup quarterback for WVU.

Mirror, mirror, who is the fairest of them all? - Exponent Telegram
Mountaineers, Aggies have similar programs

WVU, Aggies dead ringers at Liberty Bowl - Register Herald
The 2014 season was very similar for West Virginia and Texas A&M, who will meet up today at 2 p.m. in the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl.

WVU defense familiar with A&M offense - Register Herald
West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson is plenty familiar with the offensive style his unit will face Monday when the Mountaineers battle Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl. He sees it every day in practice.

Liberty Bowl gameday: SEC opponent provides Mountaineers motivation - WV MetroNews
WVU offensive lineman Mark Glowinski sure sounds excited about facing Texas A&M, another team from the nation's most vaunted conference.

Tonkery’s senior-year review: ‘It was important to know I contributed’ - WV MetroNews
The Bridgeport High graduate ranks third on the team in tackles after entering preseason camp as a depth-chart afterthought.

WVU's Tonkery Learns From Past Disappointment - BGN
West Virginia linebacker Wes Tonkery learned a lot from the way the Mountaineers played out the string a couple of years ago, and has used that experience to prevent a repeat of the 2012 season-ending collapse.

Tonkery helps Mountaineers learn from last year's meltdown - Exponent Telegram
"Last season left a bad taste in your mouth, and we didn’t want to go through that again," Tonkery said

Grad transfer Cullen Christian academically ineligible for Liberty Bowl - WV MetroNews
Holgorsen said receiver Jacky Marcellus, involved in a Florida shooting, could join the Mountaineers before the game.

Liberty Bowl: Offensive Outlook - BGN
West Virginia offensive veterans Cody Clay and Kevin White shared their thoughts on the Texas A&M defense, their roles in the Mountaineer offense and familiarity with Mountaineer quarterback Skyler Howard as the countdown to the Liberty Bowl continued

WVU, Texas A&M face off in Liberty Bowl - Charleston Gazette
West Virginia and Texas A&M play today in the 56th Liberty Bowl amidst a bevy of unknowns.

An old-fashioned shootout - Exponent Telegram
High-powered offenses on display today for WVU, Texas A&M

Aggies present challenges all over the field - Register Herald
When Texas A&M knocked off No. 9 South Carolina 52-28 on a Thursday night to open the 2014 college football season with the nation watching, many went ahead and declared the Aggies to be the country’s best team.

Game Preview: Texas A&M - WVSports.com
West Virginia (7-5) will look to close on a high note when the Mountaineers travel to Memphis to take on Texas A&M (7-5) in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Monday afternoon.

Texas A&M simplifying approach to defense - Charleston Gazette
Somewhat lost in all of that, however, is another essential element of mystery — what will Texas A&M’s defense look like?

West Virginia, Texas A&M set for 56th Liberty Bowl Monday - Daily Athenaeum
For the 33rd time in school history, West Virginia has earned a bowl game and is set for its first-ever matchup against Texas A&M.

Bowl performance could define Mountaineers' season - Register Herald
It’s hard to argue that the 2014 season wasn’t a step in the right direction for the West Virginia football program.

Viewer's guide: AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Big 12 Blog - ESPN
What’s at stake

Picks and Pontifications: WVU vs Texas A&M - BGN
It's down to the wire in the season picks contest, and Tony, Michael and Andy head into the Liberty Bowl tied with ten wins each, and separated by just two points. Will it be the selector of the winning team, or a points battle that decides it all?

Bowl Breakdown: Special Teams - EerSports
Here's a breakdown of the two special teams units.

Bowl Breakdown: Texas A&M WRs vs WVU DBs - EerSports
a look at the matchup between West Virginia's defensive backs and Texas A&M's wide receivers.

Bowl Breakdown: Texas A&M RBs vs WVU LBs - EerSports
taking a look at the matchup between West Virginia's linebackers and Texas A&M's running backs.

Galloway, Players Detail Aggies And Bowl Prep - BGN
One would be hard pressed to find a West Virginia player or coach who believes the Mountaineers aren't nearing their peak and quite excited to play in this most recent incarnation of the Liberty Bowl.Here, receivers coach Lonnie Galloway, along with running back Rushel Shell and guard Mark Glowinski, discuss the game preparation and practices and give their thoughts on the season as a whole.

Gibson: Pressure, Confusion The Key - BGN
One could pardon Tony Gibson for praising his defensive unit at his first official Liberty Bowl press conference. The difference in the Mountaineers this season and the two previous are obvious: Pressure, pressure and pressure.

Gibson: WVU Defense Will Bring Pressure on A&M Offense - WVillustrated
WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson plans to play Texas AM the same way his defense has played every other opponent: Aggressive.

WVSports.com TV: Football Interviews - WVSports.com
Galloway, White, Shell, Glowinski & Clay

WATCH: WVU Defense Talks With Media in Memphis - WVillustrated
Gibby, Joseph, Worley, Kwiatkoski & Tonkery

Holgorsen's Take: Liberty Bowl Presser - WVSports.com
Tomorrow afternoon West Virginia will play its final game of the season at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis against Texas A&M.

Friday Media Session Transcript - WVU Athletics
Dana Holgorsen/Clint Trickett Friday remarks.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Report #2 - WVU Athletics
West Virginia spent its third day in Memphis fine tuning the game plan in advance of the Mountaineers’ 2014 AutoZone Liberty Bowl game against Texas A&M on Monday afternoon.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Report #3 - WVU Athletics
Tony Caridi visits with West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen to break down Monday's 2014 AutoZone Liberty Bowl game against Texas A&M

Liberty Bowl Drills: Part I - BGN
As head coach Dana Holgorsen says, all three sides of the ball were prevalent in Friday's practice session. Here's a look at some of the drills, and the aspects of the offense, defense or special teams involved.

PHOTOS: WVU Visits St. Jude's and Memphis Grizzlies Game - WVillustrated
West Virginia Football players and staff start the day with a visit to St. Jude's Hospital and end the day at the Memphis Grizzles game.

WATCH: WVU's Millard, Molinari Beat Texas A&M in Memphis Shot Co - WVillustrated
WVU quarterback and holder beat players from the Aggies in an on-court contest at Friday night's Memphis Grizzlies game.

Pro News:

WVUPros in the NFL Week 17 Recap: Mountaineers finish on a high note - WVUPros
The NFL regular season came to an end on Sunday night and a handful of Mountaineers saved their best for last this week.

Geno Smith ends year with a bang, records perfect 158.3 QB rating - CBSSports.com
Geno Smith apparently can show flashes of being a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Geno Smith caps second season with best game of his career - WVUPros
There's something to be said for home cooking. The Jets played the last game of their abysmal season in Miami in the shadows of where Geno Smith grew up.

WVU in the NFL: Week 17 - WVSports.com
Following each week of the NFL season, WVSports.com will provide updates about how former Mountaineers are fairing in the NFL.

Eers in the NFL Week Seventeen and Regular Season Totals - EerSports
A look at former Mountaineers playing in the National Football League during Week Seventeen, and their yearly totals.

WVUPros on the Hardwood Report: Da'Sean Butler a Top Performer - WVUPros
In this edition of the Hardwood Report, we tell you about Butler’s and Goree’s big games, Joe Alexander headed overseas and more.

Around the League (and Beyond):

Art Briles officially announces Kendal Briles as new Baylor Offensive Coordinator - Our Daily Bears

Taking stock on the health of Iowa State hoops - Ames Tribune

Beaty's approach — If you can’t beat ’em, hire ’em - Lawrence Journal World

Sleepwalking in Manhattan: Kansas State drops its fifth game 58-56 to Texas Southern - Bring On The Cats

Russell Athletic Bowl | By The Numbers: Rushing Attack - Crimson And Cream Machine

Cornerback Ramon Richards fueled by dreads, not big-play dread - Oklahoman (autoplay)

Texas-Arkansas Texas Bowl Preview - Barking Carnival

TCU coach’s decision to woo back safety paying off for both - Star Telegram

Is David Gibbs a fit at defensive coordinator? Brad Pearson reconsidering - Viva The Matadors

What's On Tap:

Texas A&M Aggies vs. West Virginia Mountaineers - Preview - ESPN
Liberty Bowl, 2 pm today from Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN on ESPN/ESPN3. Mountaineers are giving 1.5.

Oklahoma Sooners vs. (17) Clemson Tigers - Preview - ESPN
Russell Athletic Bowl, 5:30 pm today from Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL on ESPN/ESPN3. Land Thieves are giving 4.5.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Texas Longhorns - Preview - ESPN
Texas Bowl, 9 pm tonight from NRG Stadium in Houston, TX on ESPN/LHN. Horns are getting 6.5.

Videos of Interest:

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen's news conference Sunday at Embassy Suites.

WVU's Tony Caridi talks with Head Coach Dana Holgorsen about the team's preparation for the Autozone Liberty Bowl.

Tailgate Recipe of the Week:

Memphis-Style Pork Ribs Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 St. Louis-cut or spare rib racks

Directions

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Rub them all over the ribs and, if you have time, set them in the fridge overnight.
  2. Get your grill or smoker going. You want pretty low heat, about 200-220°F if you can measure it. Make sure you have a spot to put the ribs that is not directly over the heat source. Lay the ribs down. They should not sizzle. If they do, cool the grill down until the ribs no longer sizzle when placed down. Cover the grill or smoker and walk away for an hour.
  3. Every hour or so after that, turn and rotate the ribs so they cook evenly. You should not have to baste them if you do this: The fat in the ribs will do the basting for you. Depending on how hot your set-up is and at what stage of doneness you like your ribs, they will be done in 4-8 hours.

Recipe reprinted from SimplyRecipes.com

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown was the weekly "pledge" portion of the magical ending to our old "Hump Day" posts. She hails from Israel and made her name as a model for SI and dating some dude named Leo. We still love her though. CLICK HERE for today's gallery of Bar Refaeli.