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Mountaineer Morning Links: Spring Football Kickoff (2/28/14) Edition

Spring football kicks off this weekend, basketball news, Varsity reports, Big 12 roundup, weekend hoops guide & more


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 Rahr & Sons Winter Warmer English-Style Dark Ale.

What You May Have Missed:

Gold and Blue Now: Friday, Feb. 28 - WV MetroNews
In this edition of Gold and Blue,’s Big 12 Blogger Jake Trotter talks about spring football around the league plus “The Voice of the Horned Frogs” Brian Estridge discusses TCU’s ability to keep fighting this season ahead of their matchup against WVU on Saturday afternoon from the Coliseum.

No. 11 West Virginia looks for revenge against No. 6 Baylor Sunday afternoon in Waco, Texas - Daily Athenaeum
The No. 11 West Virginia women’s basketball team faces its toughest test of the season Sunday afternoon, facing No. 6 Baylor at 2:30 p.m. at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

HERTZEL COLUMN: Pay tribute to Top 10 WVU women - Times West Virginian
Mike Carey always has had a way of cutting through to the core of matters, and he was at his best Wednesday night after his West Virginia University women’s basketball team annihilated Texas Tech, 69-37, on the Coliseum floor.

No. 1 Rifle Qualifies for NCAA Championships - WVU Athletics
The Mountaineers (10-0, 7-0 GARC), the defending National Champions, qualified for their eighth straight championships. WVU has won two national titles since 2009, and the squad will shoot for its nation-best 16th title.

No. 1 Rifle to Defend GARC Title - WVU Athletics
The No.-1 ranked West Virginia University rifle team will shoot for a fifth straight title at the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships, March 1-2, at Mississippi’s Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center, in Oxford, Miss.

College baseball: WVU, Marshall both at the beach this weekend - Charleston Daily Mail
The West Virginia and Marshall baseball teams will both play in the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. this weekend, but despite having several common opponents the Thundering Herd and Mountaineers will not play each other.

2-4 West Virginia set for three-game weekend - Daily Athenaeum
For the third consecutive week, the WVU baseball team will be on the road for a three-game weekend series. The Mountaineers will make a return trip to South Carolina to take on Duke, Coastal Carolina and James Madison.

Women's Soccer Spring Slate Released - WVU Athletics
The WVU women's soccer team will play five matches this spring.

Watch the WVUSportsBuzz - WVU Athletics
A loaded WVUSportsBuzz for this week, with profiles on women's track and rifle, a preview of this weekend's busy sports schedule and a behind-the-scenes look at baseball's trip to sunny San Diego last weekend.

News of Note:


Henderson out indefinitely, has been sick for 'a while' - Charleston Daily Mail
Meador declined to say what illness has kept Henderson, the team's third-leading scorer, out of the last two games, both losses in which WVU has shot below 40 percent.

Henderson’s illness doomed WVU - Daily Athenaeum
Securing an NCAA Tournament bid down the stretch with the help of sophomore guard Terry Henderson would have been a challenging feat in itself, but doing it without him has proved to be downright impossible for the West Virginia men’s basketball team.

What is wrong with WVU’s basketball team? - Times West Virginian
The most popular topic of conversation around town these days seems to narrow itself down to one topic and that simply is: “What’s wrong with West Virginia University’s men’s basketball team?”

WVU basketball: Defense fails Mountaineers - Charleston Daily Mail
"I can probably answer every question you have with one word," Staten said after an 83-66 loss to No. 15 Iowa State. "That's 'defense.' We're not playing defense.

Back to the drawing board for WVU - Charleston Gazette
Relying on shooting, defense has not worked well for Mountaineers

Staten Becoming a Special Player - WVU Athletics
First player to score 500, grab 150 rebounds and hand out 150 assists.

Big 12 beating up each other ahead of NCAAs - Bluefield Daily Telegraph
While other conferences may have a handful of standout teams, there are usually a few bottom-dwellers that everybody else can use to pad their records.

WVU may have found new rival - Daily Athenaeum
When watching West Virginia take on No. 15 Iowa State Wednesday night, I felt a sense of a hate between the two schools for the first time since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference.


WVU Sports Podcast: Tony Gibson - WVU Athletics (autoplay)
Jeff Culhane interviews WVU's new defensive coordinator.

Gibson Outlines Plans - BGN
New defensive coordinator Tony Gibson outlines his plan for the defense, namely a change in the wording of one position and how the secondary will approach matching up against receivers.

WVU football: Big hands could benefit new quarterback - Charleston Daily Mail
Shannon Dawson is aware of what others will be once West Virginia opens spring football practice and gives curious fans a look at quarterback Skyler Howard.

Better pass-protection becomes job No. 1 for offensive line during spring - WV MetroNews
Ron Crook alters emphasis after West Virginia ranked eighth in the Big 12 in sacks allowed during 2013.

Multiple Options - BGN
West Virginia’s receiving corps returns with two qualities lacking last season: game experience and increased depth. And though those traits aren’t essential for winning, they certainly lay a more solid foundation than that with which position coach Lonnie Galloway began spring drills last season.

WVU has solid running back corps - Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Seider excited about ability of his players

Shell’s debut brings excitement to spring football - Daily Athenaeum
The last time Rushel Shell took a meaningful snap was in the 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl for Pitt, where he carried the ball 25 times for 79 yards in a loss to Ole Miss.

Big 12 pre-spring special teams breakdown - ESPN
7. West Virginia

Around the League (and Beyond):

Baylor is apparently serious about this Sailgating thing - Our Daily Bears

Men’s Basketball: Notebook — Cyclones survive - and then some - without Ejim - Ames Tribune

What if Andrew Wiggins never came to Kansas? - Lawrence Journal World

Tournament Thursday: Road win brings salvation - Bring On The Cats

OU football: Quarterback Kendal Thompson will transfer to Utah - Oklahoman

Finalists for Oscar Robertson POY Smart. - Cowboys Ride For Free

Longhorn Athletics Beer Sales: Examining the Pros and Cons - Barking Carnival

Casey Pachall sets the record straight about his past - Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram

Departed seniors leave Red Raiders with big holes to fill at noseguard, defensive tackle - Lubbock Avalanche Journal

Yards after catch linked with success for Big 12 teams - ESPN
Big 12 offenses took a clear step backward in 2013.

What's On Tap:

TCU Horned Frogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers - ESPN
1:30 pm Saturday from the Coliseum on ROOT Pittsburgh

(11) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (6) Baylor Lady Bears - ESPN
Women's hoops, 2:30 pm Sunday from the Ferrell Center

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Baylor Bears - ESPN
1:30 pm Saturday from the Ferrell Center on MASN2, Altitude & ESPN3

(24) Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners - ESPN
4 pm Saturday from the Lloyd Noble Center on MASN2, Altitude & ESPN3

(15) Iowa State Cyclones vs. Kansas State Wildcats - Preview - ESPN
7 pm Saturday from Bramlage on ESPNU/3

(5) Kansas Jayhawks vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys - ESPN
9 pm Saturday from Gallagher Iba on ESPN/ESPN3

Videos of Interest:

In this edition of the Bob Huggins United Bank Playbook, Coach and Tony Caridi talk about this weekend's match-up with the TCU Horned Frogs and WVU's NCAA chances.

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is on the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue once again (back cover, but still). CLICK HERE for today's gallery of Kate Upton.