The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 24, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN: Bench a great motivator

MORGANTOWN — Once upon a time when Bob Huggins was the Bearcat stage of his life, he had a player whom he called “Turnover and Re-Turnover.”

“It was,” he said, “50-50 if he was going to turn the ball over. But if he did, he’d go down and steal it right back.”

It wasn’t necessarily out of any great defensive ability that he was able to do that.

It was out of fear.

“He knew if he didn’t get the ball back he was coming out,” Huggins said.

See Bob Huggins learned the greatest lesson that any coach can learn and he did so long, long ago.

“The bench,” he said, “is the greatest motivator you have as a coach.”

You can put players on the treadmill, which he does, and you can get in their face and shout until their face turns blue, but in the end the only thing they really hear is that they aren’t playing.

Don’t believe it.

Ask Cam Thoroughman, the man who puts the blue collar in West Virginia’s gold and blue, what he was thinking midway through the second half when the Mountaineers were protecting a 12-point lead in a game they would win, 76-66, over Ole Miss as the ball slipped out of his hands and was stolen away.

The moment the ball got loose and began moving in the other direction, Thoroughman admits he thought about Huggins telling him about the player he nicknamed “Turnover and Re-Turnover”.

“I knew if he made that basket I was coming out,” Thoroughman said.

Now the thing is, the Mississippi player had a jump out of the gate on Thoroughman and clear sailing to the hoop. Huggins already was wheeling around on his heels to get someone to get into the game and replace Thoroughman.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads