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Mountaineer Morning Links: Thursday (4/9/15) Edition

Baseball set to open new park tomorrow vs. Butler, football & basketball news, recruiting, Big 12 roundup & 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 Burton Bridge Brewery's Spring Ale.

What You May Have Missed:

Wrestling Signees Racking Up Titles - WVU Athletics
A trio of future Mountaineers recently won titles at Flo Nationals.

Covich comes to WVU with lifetime experience - Daily Athenaeum
Nearly a year ago, Sean Covich made a trip north from Mississippi and stepped foot into the state of West Virginia for the first time in his life. He would leave as the new men’s golf head coach for West Virginia University.

Have Gun, Will Travel: WVU Mascot Visits Wheeling Kids - Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
The assembled students of Madison Elementary School could barely stay in their seats as the buckskin-clad college senior sauntered into their auditorium Monday afternoon.

News of Note:

Wolf's Huddle: Lion or Lamb? - WVU Athletics
Dale Wolfley's inside look at Mountaineer football.

Wendell Smallwood is surging for West Virginia - Big 12 Blog - ESPN
"Up to this point in spring practice, he’s been probably the best player on the field," Seider said. "Period."

Quarterback uncertainty lingers for West Virginia - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"They all are great-looking guys who had loads of potential, but we just have to start coaching them," Holgorsen said. "We don’t know where they’re going to be."

"Coach" Jared Barber Returns to Lead WVU Defense - WVillustrated
Seventeen months after tearing his ACL and contracting MRSA, the Mountaineer senior linebacker is back in the fold for 2015.

Barber making plays at middle linebacker like knee injury ‘never happened’ - WV MetroNews
Back from a torn ACL and a post-surgery infection, Jared Barber has a new jersey number and new expectations.

WVU Defense Already Ahead... And Getting Better - EerSports
Earlier this spring, West Virginia Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson made it very clear what he expected from his side of the ball this coming season.

Rose arrest has potential to have huge impact - Exponent Telegram
Rose is, without a doubt, one of the leaders of a West Virginia team fighting to regain a spot in the Top 25.

A Look At WVU's Offensive Drills - BGN
We look at the play of West Virginia's offense, from quarterbacks to the line, and all points in between, at Saturday's practice in Shepherdstown.

Question marks surround WVU offense during spring practice - Daily Athenaeum
A little over three weeks into spring practice, questions still surround West Virginia’s offense, particularly at quarterback and receiver.

Mountaineers hoping punter O'Toole returns to form - Beckley Register-Herald
What is wrong with Nick O’Toole?

Hoops

WVU Hoops Outlook Bright - WVU Athletics
An epiphany may have permanently changed WVU's hoops outlook.

Huggins offers solutions to what ails college hoops - Charleston Daily Mail
The overarching problem for college basketball — apart from having so many problems to begin with — is it suffers from an identity crisis.

The system needs fixed - Exponent Telegram
there are people such as West Virginia coach Bob Huggins who would hope that the Final Four’s success does not detract from reforms that need to take place.

WVU returning a tournament-caliber team - Daily Athenaeum
When the 2014-15 college basketball season tipped off, few believed West Virginia could put a season together that could take them to the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Men's Basketball Final 2015 Coaches Poll - USA Today Sports
18 West Virginia

NCAA College Basketball Power Rankings - ESPN
16 West Virginia

Baseball

Sophomore righthander Donato taking on ace role in West Virginia’s rotation this season - Daily Athenaeum
Coming into the season with an extremely young pitching staff, the West Virginia University baseball team was looking for an answer. In righthander Chad Donato, they haven’t just found an answer, they might have found an ace.

How will new WVU ballpark play? - Charleston Gazette
A pitcher’s paradise or hitter’s haven? Didn’t really matter to West Virginia’s baseball coach, although he does admit that, given his druthers, the latter might be best for the sake of the fans he hopes will flock there.

Plenty of Runs Coming to New Ballpark - WVSports.com
The first reason is the wind tunnel that resides on the hill where the stadium is located and the second reason is the baseball itself.

Preview: WVU Ballpark Opening & Butler Series - BGN
When West Virginia plays host to Butler as it opens Mon County Ballpark on Friday, it will be the coronation of two-plus years of effort in getting a facility with which the Mountaineers can begin to compete on a national scale. And now that the park nears completion, there's both a palpable sign of relief and the building anticipation.

Munden relishes his night in national spotlight - Exponent Telegram
Like everyone else, West Virginia University shortstop Taylor Munden thought the No. 1 play on ESPN’s Top 10 plays was reserved for the big boys, names like Kobe and LeBron, McCutcheon and Rothlisberger.

WATCH: Mazey, WVU Baseball Talk Home Opener - WVillustrated
See Mazey, along with short stop Taylor Munden and catcher Ray Guerrini, speak about their expectations for the new ballpark and their desire to see a full house as they go for a series victory over Butler.

WVSports.com TV: Baseball Interviews - WVSports.com
Coach Mazey & OF Shaun Wood

Recruiting:

Top-Ranked LB Headed To Army Bowl - EerSports
Ferns has over 30 scholarship offers to consider with programs like Ohio State, Penn State and West Virginia near the top of the list.

What's on Tap:

Parking/Shuttle Info for New Ballpark Opening - WVU Athletics
Information on parking and shuttles for the opening of the new ballpark.

Pro News:

QB guru Tom House sees improvement in Jets' Geno Smith - New York Jets Blog - ESPN
"I think he left incrementally better in all four metrics," House told ESPN.com.

Around the League (and Beyond):

Silas Nacita Permanently Ineligible for receiving gifts - Our Daily Bears

Step Into My Office: Naz Long - Wide Right & Natty Lite

Shaka Smart is Good for Texas, but Doesn't Guarantee an End to Kansas' Streak - Rock Chalk Talk

Top-10 player spring update: Kansas State Wildcats - Big 12 Blog - ESPN

Joe Mixon 'hungry' and 'matured' according to Sooners teammates - Oklahoman

Tyreek Hill Headed To Akron? - Cowboys Ride For Free

Texas welcomes new HC Shaka Smart - Burnt Orange Nation

TCU position series: Frogs’ stacked receiving corps returns nearly unchanged - Dallas Morning News

A Successful 2015 Texas Tech Football Season Looks Like _________? - Viva The Matadors

Video of Interest:

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is the BikiniTeam.com model of the month for April. CLICK HERE for today's gallery of Katlin Joiro.