Thursday Notebook

  • By John Antonik
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  • October 07, 2010 02:29 PM
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Number, numbers, numbers … Here is an overdose of stats for you to digest as you get prepared for West Virginia’s final non-conference game of the season this Saturday against UNLV …

What do the numbers 142 and 22 mean to you? Nothing, right? Well, 142 were the number of points West Virginia was able to generate from its defense and special teams during former coach Rich Rodriguez’s 86 game-reign from 2001-07.

That averages out to a little more than 1 ½ points per game (1.63 ppg. to be exact).

Since Bill Stewart has taken over the head coaching duties (for argument sake I have included the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl among the 31 games Stewart has coached at West Virginia), only 22 points have been produced from his defense and special teams – a Tavon Austin kickoff return against UConn in 2009, a Mortty Ivy interception return against Villanova in 2008, a Sidney Glover pick six last year at Rutgers and two safeties. Those 22 points average out to roughly ½ point per game during Stewart’s coaching tenure.

So what does that mean?

Well, it means West Virginia’s offense from 2001-07 averaged 30 points per game without special teams/defensive TDs and safeties (WVU had five during that period) and 31.7 points per game with them. And it means Bill Stewart’s offense is averaging 25.3 points per game without defensive/special teams TDs and safeties and 25.9 points per game with them.


Some more comparisons … West Virginia’s average margin of victory from 2001-07 was 10.6 points per game. From 2008 on, the average margin of victory is exactly a touchdown per game. However, the Mountaineers have a slightly higher winning percentage since the Fiesta Bowl (.710) than they did from 2001-07 (.698).

Therefore, while West Virginia is scoring fewer points per game, it is also giving up fewer points per game, but is actually winning at a slightly higher rate.

Go figure.

Here is one more … the last time West Virginia scored more than 40 points in a game was against Villanova in the 2008 season opener and if you look back you will discover that West Virginia had a defensive TD in that game. There are three different phases to football and obviously three different ways teams can score points. I’m sure Bill Stewart would like to see more points on the board from his defense and special teams to help out the offense a little bit.


Hands down Rich Rodriguez had the highest-scoring offenses in school history, averaging 31.7 points for his 86 games at WVU. But did you realize that his teams also averaged 1.63 points per game in non-offensive points (defensive/special teams touchdowns and safeties)? That is the second highest scoring rate among WVU coaches dating back to 1950.

Jim Carlen’s teams had the best non-offensive scoring rate, averaging 1.7 points per game from 1966-69. Carlen’s teams produced 70 non-offensive points during his 41-game coaching career in Morgantown. Six of the non-offensive TDs under Carlen came on punt returns (John Mallory had four of them) and the other five were pick-sixes.

Here is the breakdown:

Bill Stewart, 31 G, 22 points, 0.7 ppg.
Rich Rodriguez, 86 G, 140 points, 1.63 ppg.
Don Nehlen, 246 G, 338 points, 1.37 ppg.
Frank Cignetti, 44 G, 32 points, 0.7 ppg.
Bobby Bowden, 68 G, 76 points, 1.1 ppg.
Jim Carlen, 41 G, 70 points, 1.7 ppg.
Gene Corum, 61 G, 60 points, 0.98 ppg.
Art Lewis, 98 G, 84 points, 0.86 ppg.

Finally, since 1950, the best-ever season for non-offensive scoring came in 2000 during Don Nehlen’s final campaign when the Mountaineers produced an eye-opening 10 non-offensive TDs to go with a safety. That year West Virginia got five interception returns, three kickoff returns (all of them by Shawn Terry) and two fumble returns for TDs.

West Virginia averaged 29.7 points per game that year, but if you subtract the non-offensive points the number is reduced to 24.5 points per game.

I would say that’s maximizing your scoring chances.


When you remove defensive and special teams scores, here is how the best Mountaineer offensive periods stack up since 1950:

Rich Rodriguez, 86 games, 30.0 ppg.
Bill Stewart, 31 games, 25.5 ppg.
Don Nehlen, 246 games, 24.4 ppg.
Bobby Bowden, 68 games, 24.1 ppg.
Art Lewis, 98 games, 19.9 ppg.
Jim Carlen, 41 games, 19.1 ppg.
Frank Cignetti, 44 games, 17.0 ppg.
Gene Corum, 61 games, 15.1 ppg.


Football SID Mike Montoro sent this one to me this morning … West Virginia’s defense is tied with Nebraska for third in the country with 22 three-and-outs through its first four games for an average of 5.5 per game. Ohio State is the best in this category, averaging 6.4 three-and-outs per game.

Here are the nation’s top three-and-out defenses

1. Ohio State, 6.4
2. TCU, 6.0
3. West Virginia, 5.5
3. Nebraska, 5.5
5. Boise State, 4.75
5. San Diego State, 4.75
7. NC State, 4.6
8. Utah, 4.5
8. Colorado, 4.5
10. LSU, 4.4


I received word that Athletic Director Emeritus Ed Pastilong will be honored by WVU student affairs down at the Mountainlair tomorrow evening. Pastilong’s 21-year tenure as athletic director was the most successful period in WVU history, making his student recogniton richly deserved.


You can tell the West Virginia volleyball team digs its new coach Jill Kramer. In fact, the 12-7 Mountaineers rank No. 1 in the nation with an average of 19.2 digs per set. Senior libero Bonnie West is the school record holder with 1,759 career digs heading into Friday night’s game against Georgetown. The Mountaineers are 2-2 in conference play heading into the Georgetown match.


Working ahead a little bit here … West Virginia is 7-0 in Thursday night home games and is 19-4-1 all-time at home on Thursdays. The last home loss on a Thursday came in 1926 when the Mountaineers dropped a 13-3 decision to Washington & Jefferson. That's back when players could still put their football helmets in their pockets.

Of course, USF comes to town five days after Saturday’s UNLV game for West Virginia’s conference opener.


A new NCAA rule gives women’s basketball coaches a longer window of preparation before their season openers. In the past, preparation for women's teams could begin on Oct. 15 but this year teams can count back 40 days from their first official game to begin practing. In West Virginia’s case that means the Mountaineers could have started practice on Oct. 3, but veteran coach Mike Carey chose to start on Oct. 5.

The coach said he will spread out their on-court work until resuming a normal practice schedule on the 15th. West Virginia has all five starters returning from last year’s team that finished second to No. 1 Connecticut in the Big East Tournament and lost in the second round of the NCAAs to San Diego State.

Sporting News has the Mountaineers No. 9 to start this season.


Here is an odd-ball stat: WVU men’s soccer coach Marlon LeBlanc had his 17th tie game last night at Elon. Twenty percent of the fifth-year coach’s 85 career matches have ended in ties.

West Virginia wrapped up the non-conference portion of its schedule Wednesday night with a 4-2-2 mark. The Mountaineers have a big conference match coming up this Saturday against Notre Dame this Saturday at Dick Dlesk Stadium. Be sure to stop over and catch some soccer on your way out of town after the football game against UNLV.

Speaking of soccer, the women’s team takes a three-match winning streak into Syracuse this Friday night. The Mountaineers have surrendered just three goals in their last seven matches with five shutouts. West Virginia is presently five points behind 23rd-ranked Marquette in the Big East American Division; the Golden Eagles are 5-0 in conference play and own a 2-1 victory over the Mountaineers back on Sept. 23.

West Virginia thought its strength of schedule was going to get a big boost from Penn State, which the Mountaineers lost to in overtime to begin the season back on Aug. 20, but injuries have reduced Penn State’s record to 3-7-1 following an overtime loss to Ohio State last Sunday.

West Virginia is once again receiving votes in this week’s NSCAA poll after starting the season ranked No. 24.


The list of presenters for this year’s WVU Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies taking place at the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility this Saturday before the WVU-UNLV football game is just as impressive as this year’s seven-person class of inductees.

Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton-Kelly will be introducing her father Ronnie Retton, Olympic gold medalist Ed Etzel and former national champion rifle coach Marsha Beasley will introduce Ann-Marie Piffner-Johnson, All-American forward Leland Byrd will be presenting his teammate Bobby Carroll, All-American Bill Marovic will be presenting pitcher John Radosevich and budding television star Meg Bulger will be introducing her brother Marc Bulger.

Betty Barrett will introduce her husband, former sports information director Eddie Barrett, and David Karr Jr. and David Karr Sr. will accept on behalf of Bill Karr, a great 1930s-era end for the Mountaineers who starred in the NFL for the Chicago Bears.

Speaking of Marc Bulger, he is surely still basking in the glow of Baltimore’s 17-14 come-from-behind victory over Pittsburgh last weekend. This Sunday, the Ravens play Denver so Bulger has some logistics to work out to make Saturday’s Hall of Fame ceremonies. I understand he will stick around for the UNLV game before flying back to Baltimore later Saturday night to complete preparation for Sunday's big game against the Broncos.


The Sports Communications staff is welcoming two new additions to the family. Assistant athletic director Brad Howe and his wife Laura recently celebrated the birth of their daughter Genevieve Catherine, while sports communications graduate assistant Daniel Whitehead and his wife Bethany are enjoying their newborn son Noah Daniel.

Our congratulations go out to the Howe and Whitehead families!

Enjoy your weekend!