By Bob Hertzel
For the Times West Virginian
New Marshall football coach Doc Holliday vehemently denied speculation that he was the unnamed source behind a story in last Sunday’s Huntington Dispatch that reported West Virginia University had self-reported to the NCAA violations of using personnel in coaching roles over the limit of nine.
“I would never do anything like that,” an irate Holliday said. “West Virginia is my alma mater, remember. I spent a long time there. I have roots there.”
A column early this week in the Times West Virginian included these paragraphs, which Holliday took to be accusing him of being the leak.
“When one realized the head coach at Marshall is Doc Holliday, a long-time WVU assistant who left the program back when Don Nehlen was retiring and then was snubbed when Bill Stewart was named over him as Rodriguez's replacement after he had spent time at North Carolina State and Florida, there was much suspicion that he may have been behind the planting of the story.
“Considering Holliday also has hired away some of WVU's graduate assistants to work in his program, one can assume that the first shot in what could be a hot rivalry has been fired.”
While it is true speculation existed that Holliday was the unnamed source of the story, he made it a point to stress this was not the case.
“I have enough to worry about with my football team,” the former West Virginia coach said.
West Virginia officials have steadfastly refused to confirm or deny the report that Pat Kirkland and Dale Wolfley, two men who hold administrative positions, had been used in coaching duties.
NCAA rules prohibit them from commenting publically at this time.
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West Virginia’s football team is going through seven-on-drills as part of its summer workouts and if you are looking for some good news, this is how linebacker J.T. Thomas sees incoming freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson of Silsbee High in Texas.
“Jeremy Johnson is really fast,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to say his name in vain, but Jeremy sort of looks like Pat White when he tucks the ball and runs.”
You can’t get a higher compliment in this neck of the woods than that.
Johnson and fellow incoming freshman Barry Brunetti from Memphis are different types of quarterbacks.
“Barry is more a stout kid who can throw the ball real good,” Thomas said.
Johnson is 6-3, 175 and Brunetti 6-0 and 207.
Of course, Geno Smith is penciled in as the starter as the most experienced and after a strong spring throwing the ball despite recovering from a broken bone in his foot.
He is still not doing everything because of the foot but has shown a strong, accurate arm and fast release.%
“Geno is out there helping those younger guys, just like Jarrett (Brown) helped him last year. It’s very impressive. He’s sharp and he knows his stuff,” running back Noel Devine said of Smith.
If you are looking for a future star, cast an eye toward cornerback Broderick Jenkins, a redshirt freshman from Fort Myers, Fla., who made great strides in spring camp and seems to be carrying them on into the summer.
“He was the fifth guy (among the cornerbacks) at the end of the fall, but right now he’s running with the 1s,” cornerback coach David Lockwood said.
WVU has two returning starting cornerbacks in Brandon Hogan, who spent much of the spring in the doghouse, and Keith Tandy. Hogan is a potential all-conference player as a senior.
What happened with Jenkins to move him forward?
“It’s his confidence that has grown,” Lockwood said. “When he first came here, he was always in position to make the play but never made it. Then, this spring, he showed he could make the plays. Once he realized he could do it, his confidence grew and he improved.”
The Mountaineers also have another redshirt freshman cornerback in Pat Miller out of a top program in Birmingham, Ala.
Lockwood wasn’t worried much about Hogan’s missing much of the spring drills as he worked on academics.%
“I looked at it as an opportunity to find out what Jenkins could do,” Miller said. “We know what Hogan can do. He’s a fifth year guy. What does he need?”
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Mike Cassazza, on his Charleston Daily Mail blog, noted that Rivals.com had an interesting survey of ticket prices throughout Division-1A, which it will always be to me.
WVU is tied with Cal for 19th place with its cheapest season ticket still available without a donation and for $325.
The most expensive among the cheapest season tickets you can buy?
Ohio State, which requires a $1,500 donation and $607 for the seat, which comes to $2,107.
Pitt, by the way, offers a season ticket for $87 without a donation.
What’s that they say, you get what you pay for?
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West Virginia University pitcher Chris Enourato signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.
He was a third-team All-Big East selection and struck out 179 in 178.1 innings for his career.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.