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EerNotes Sept. 29: Devine Update and Special

By Michael

It was easy to see that Mountaineer running back Noel Devine wasn’t playing quite like he usually does last week against LSU.

After taking a late hit from an LSU defender, Devine suffered a foot injury that hindered his play for the rest of the game and kept him out for a significant amount of time in the first half. West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart was optimistic about the status of his star running back when he talked about him during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

He revealed that the diagnosis was a bruised bone beneath his big toe and that Devine will be wearing an orthotic to help take some of the pressure off of the foot during practice.

“He came back in the game and ran tough. He was hurting really bad at halftime,” Stewart said. “The good thing is that we don’t play this weekend and we are off till next Saturday, and by that time I know he will be fine.

“He will practice as normal.”

After looking good in the first three weeks of the season, the West Virginia special teams unit struggled against the Tigers last Saturday.

In the kicking game, sophomore place kicker Tyler Bitancurt had his second field goal of the season blocked early on in the game and later missed one from 48 yards out.

“Both kicks that were blocked this season have been low from what I saw and then Tyler just missed the last one,” Stewart said. “They all compete every day, but I am going to continue to watch Bitancurt. Right now he is still the incumbent.”

The punt return coverage in the game looked a little out of sorts at times as well, as LSU return man and Heisman candidate Patrick Peterson burned the Mountaineers twice with big punt returns, one being a 60-yard touchdown.

“The first punt, (Peterson) was just faster than our guys,” Stewart said. “The other punt return, we had a guard get out of his lane.”

• This was the first week this season that a Mountaineer wasn’t named to the Big East Conference’s weekly honor roll.

• According to a report in the New York Post on Tuesday, the Big East Conference is interesting in adding TCU to the conference sometime in the future. Obviously adding a team like that would help both the Big East and the Horned Frogs in gaining more legitimacy in the college football world. TCU is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation and is 4-0 on the year.

• During the Big East Coaches’ Teleconference on Monday, Stewart said that a few coaches didn’t come back to Morgantown after the LSU game, opting to head out to different parts of the country for recruiting purposes.

• The Mountaineers will not be playing this week, and will be back in action on October 9 against UNLV at Milan Puskar Stadium.

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