By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
The NCAA has decided to credit Michigan’s Denard Robinson with yardage gained while playing running back in the Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina as part of his quarterback yardage, allowing him to break West Virginia University’s Pat White’s all-time record of rushing yards by a quarterback.
White, playing for Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart at West Virginia, set the major-college record for rushing yards by a quarterback by gaining 4,480 on 684 carries from 2005 through 2008.
Rodriguez took his offense to Michigan and installed Robinson at quarterback, and he was as proficient a runner at White, but Rodriguez left to coach Arizona after three years as Michigan coach.
Robinson was bearing down on White’s record before suffering an injury that limited his QB play the last three games, taking almost all of his snaps as a running back. In the final game, he gained 100 yards to finish with 15 more yards than White had accumulated, 4,495 to 4,480.
But in that last game, Michigan was actually playing with someone else at quarterback and Robinson as a position player.
WVU challenged the ruling.
“How can you give a man yardage at a position that is being played by someone else?” football information director Mike Montoro asked.
The NCAA is going to put something similar to an asterisk with the record, noting that White gained all his yardage solely at quarterback, but the record will belong to Robinson.
“Obviously, I think Pat’s snaps were almost exclusively from the quarterback position during his unbelievable career, and I think it’s a little bit unfair,” athletic director Oliver Luck said. “Let’s put it this way; whatever the NCAA decides will have no effect on the minds of West Virginians who put Pat White up there as the best quarterback who ever played there.”
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West Virginia has posted a job for a strength and conditioning coach on its website, and coming in the expected shakeup of the football staff following a 7-6 season that ended with a disheartening loss to Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl, there was some immediate speculation that Fairmont’s Mike Joseph was about to be replaced in that position.
The university, however, clarified that Joseph still has the job, and the opening was created when Mark Smith left to take the lead strength and conditioning position at Southern Mississippi before the Pinstripe Bowl.
However, with the football team meeting over the next week in an effort to straighten out all aspects of the program, the strength and conditioning program will come under heavy scrutiny along with everything else.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.