Big 12: Terence Garvin

2012 record: 7-6
2012 Big 12 record: 4-5
Returning starters: Offense: 3; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 0

Top returners: S Karl Joseph, LB Isaiah Bruce, OL Quinton Spain, RB Andrew Buie, RB Dustin Garrison, DL Will Clarke, S Darwin Cook

Key losses: WR Tavon Austin, QB Geno Smith, WR Stedman Bailey, C Joe Madsen, LB Terence Garvin, LB Josh Francis, OG Jeff Braun

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Passing: Geno Smith (4,198 yards)
Rushing: Andrew Buie* (850 yards)
Receiving: Stedman Bailey (1,627 yards)
Tackles: Karl Joseph* (102)
Sacks: Terence Garvin (6)
Interceptions: Karl Joseph*, Isaiah Bruce* (2)

Spring answers:

1. Passing weapons found. The Mountaineers sorted out their receivers and found some solid replacements for Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey to help ease the transition to a new quarterback. K.J. Myers and Connor Arlia had solid springs, along with newcomer Kevin White, a junior college transfer. Jordan Thompson closed with a big spring game, but he has to prove he can do it in a real game.

2. Corners hit the reset button. Cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts is gone, replaced by Brian Mitchell. Pat Miller graduated, but the corners are strating from scratch this spring. Brodrick Jenkins reclaimed his starting spot, and a pair of young players in Nana Kyeremeh and Brandon Napolean should be in the rotation on the opposite side, too. This was the biggest problem area for the defense last season, which looked completely overmatched against Big 12 offenses.

3. Strength in (backfield) numbers. Dana Holgorsen has a reputation as a guy who wants to throw it all around the yard, but that's not necessarily true. This year, he may prove it. WVU will throw it plenty, but running back may be this team's biggest strength. Dustin Garrison is finally healthy and 2012 leading rusher Andrew Buie returns. Juco transfer Dreamius Smith provides even more help at the position. WVU couldn't run the ball consistently last season, but look for them to do it often in the fall.

Fall questions

1. Who's the quarterback? The spring closed with a quarterback competition coach Dana Holgorsen described as "wide open." Texas natives Paul Millard and Ford Childress are neck and neck, and that competition will extend into the fall. Millard has more experience. Childress has more arm strength. This one will be unpredictable going into fall. Anything could happen.

2. Is the defense adjusting? All the leadership and experience this season is on the defensive side of the ball, a stark change from last year's team, where the components of the passing game were better than just about anyone in the Big 12. The new league's offenses got the best of WVU's defense last season, but can they prove they learned from those bumps in the road? No guarantees on that one.

3. Sorting out the offensive line. Joe Madsen leaves a big hole at center for the Mountaineers, and just two starters return from last year's unit. Ron Crook came from Stanford to replace departed OL coach Bill Bedenbaugh and the battle to replace Madsen at center is one of the most interesting. Senior Pat Eger closed the spring as the starter, beating out redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky, but juco transfer Stone Underwood will muddy up that race come fall.
We'll continue looking at the best at positions across the Big 12 today with the men in the middle of the defense: the linebackers. There's a lot of strength at this position, especially at the top. Let's get to it.

Here's what we've covered so far:
[+] EnlargeBrown
Scott Sewell/US PresswireArthur Brown is ranked the fifth-best outside linebacker prospect in this year's NFL draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.
1. Arthur Brown, Kansas State: Brown is probably the most instinctive guy on the list, and can make plays from one side of the field to the other that no other linebacker in the league can. He's a star, and he'll be fun to watch at the next level. He made 100 tackles and seven tackles for loss with a pair of interceptions and a touchdown.

2. A.J. Klein, Iowa State: Klein didn't repeat as the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year, but he finished third in the league with 117 tackles. The 248-pounder plays physically and has been one of the Big 12's best linebackers for three seasons. He picked off one pass this season and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown against Texas Tech.

3. Jake Knott, Iowa State: Knott and Klein have been the Big 12's best linebacker duo in each of the past two seasons, though Knott missed the last five games of the season. He had double-digit stops in each of his last four games and closed with a win over Baylor. He finished with 79 tackles, despite missing the end of the year after undergoing shoulder surgery.

4. Kenny Cain, TCU: Cain helped TCU put together the Big 12's best defense and made 86 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss and a pair of picks. TCU's linebacking corps was depleted by off-the-field issues before the season, but Cain was a constant for the Frogs.

5. Bryce Hager, Baylor: Hager made a big debut with 14 tackles in a blowout win over SMU. He rallied with a strong finish and played his best ball throughout Baylor's four-game winning streak to close the season. He was all over the place and made 10 stops in the upset win over Kansas State. He finished the year with 124 tackles to lead the Big 12.

6. Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State: Lewis hasn't quite ascended to stardom like it seemed he would after winning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors in 2010, but he's been solid for the Cowboys. He made 58 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss with four pass breakups and a forced fumble.

7. Ben Heeney, Kansas: Heeney was a bright spot for KU's struggling defense in 2012, making 112 tackles and 12 tackles for loss for the Jayhawks, who had just 50 in all of 2013. He's has a ton of speed and could blossom under Dave Campo's leadership next season.

8. Eddie Lackey, Baylor: Lackey made waves by winning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week in the final two weeks of the regular season, thanks to returning a pair of picks for touchdowns. He finished with four on the year, but he was fifth in the league with 104 tackles and made a big impact after transferring from junior college.

9. Jarell Childs, Kansas State: Childs had to play a bigger role for the Wildcats after Tre Walker went down with a knee injury, and he impressed his teammates with the additional responsibility. The Kansas City native and converted running back made 66 tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown, adding 4.5 tackles for loss.

10. Terence Garvin, West Virginia: Garvin, who missed the spring with a knee injury, played well for the Big 12's worst defense out in Morgantown. He bounced back and made 83 tackles with 11.5 tackles for loss in his third year as a starter.

The All-Big 12 Bowl Team

January, 10, 2013
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The Big 12 had nine teams in bowl games this season, and here is the best of the best in the Big 12's postseason. Let's get to it.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsDavid Ash's big plays fueled Texas' comeback against Oregon State.
QB: David Ash, Texas: He edges out Clint Chelf because of his game-changing plays in the Longhorns' win against Oregon State. Ash had the best play of the entire bowl season with a crazy escape and acrobatic touchdown pass to Johnathan Gray, and he hit Marquise Goodwin on a 36-yard bomb to put the Longhorns ahead in the final minutes. He finished 21-of-33 with 241 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 22 yards and a score.

RB: Lache Seastrunk, Baylor: Seastrunk helped Baylor rout UCLA with 138 yards and a score on 16 carries in the Bears' Holiday Bowl win.

RB: Glasco Martin IV, Baylor: How many rushers did the Big 12 have this bowl season who had at least 95 yards? Two, and both played for Baylor. Martin scored three touchdowns in the Holiday Bowl and carried the ball 21 times for 98 yards. Heck of a night for the Bears backs.

WR: Darrin Moore, Texas Tech: Moore was the most consistent receiver in the bowl season with 11 catches for 84 yards, keeping the chains moving for the Red Raiders in their Meineke Car Care Bowl win against Minnesota.

WR: Stedman Bailey, West Virginia: Despite playing in a snowstorm, Bailey had the best performance of any Big 12 receiver. He caught eight balls for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It wasn't enough to get the Pinstripe Bowl win, but no other Mountaineer scored a touchdown.

WR: Marquise Goodwin, Texas: The track star's touches were limited, but he had a huge impact. His 36-yard grab with 2:24 to play proved to be the game winner, and he finished with four catches for 68 yards. He also had one carry -- which he turned into a 64-yard touchdown, looking as fast as any player in college football while streaking to the end zone.

TE: Ernst Brun Jr., Iowa State: Brun caught four passes for 102 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown, to get the first-quarter party started for the Cyclones, which scored 17 points in the quarter. The rest of the game was forgettable, but Brun had one of the longest plays of Iowa State's season.

OL: Cyril Richardson, Baylor: The Bears' left guard was a big reason why Baylor had so much success running the ball. Baylor racked up 306 yards on the ground against UCLA.

OL: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State: Purdue's Kawann Short is a stud and arguably the team's best player, but Taylor helped Oklahoma State rack up 58 points and helped hold the Boilermakers defensive tackle to just one tackle and one sack. Short had minimal impact throughout the game.

OL: LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech: The Red Raiders ran the ball well -- on the few occasions they did -- and Seth Doege had plenty of time. Waddle was a big reason why for both.

OL: Lane Johnson, Oklahoma: Texas A&M wrecking ball Damontre Moore declared for the NFL draft before the Cotton Bowl, but credit Johnson at tackle, who helped hold him to five tackles, one tackle for loss and zero sacks, despite Landry Jones throwing 48 passes.

OL: Ivory Wade, Baylor: Those 306 yards rushing for the Bears didn't come easy. Most of them came on the interior, and Wade was a solid presence in the middle of the line.

DEFENSE

DL: Chris McAllister, Baylor: He was one of a handful of guys to hold UCLA's Johnathan Franklin to 34 yards on 14 carries, had five tackles, including two sacks, and batted down a pass to help keep UCLA's passing game grounded.

DL: Alex Okafor, Texas: Okafor is my defensive MVP of the Big 12 bowl season. He gave Oregon State's offensive line nightmares and helped the Longhorns stage a late comeback with 4.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and eight stops. He also forced a fumble.

DL: Meshak Williams, Kansas State: The Wildcats had a rough night against Oregon, but Williams played pretty well with nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.

DL: Terrance Lloyd, Baylor: Lloyd was part of the Baylor gang who helped UCLA have its worst running game of the season. He had four tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. No zone read for you.

LB: Terence Garvin, West Virginia: Garvin was everywhere for the West Virginia defense, which largely struggled in a blowout loss to Syracuse. He forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, broke up a pass, had two sacks, made three tackles for loss and had 15 tackles.

LB: Tyler Johnson, Oklahoma State: Johnson blew up what Purdue likes to refer to as its "passing game." He made six tackles, had two sacks and forced two fumbles, including a huge hit on Purdue quarterback Robert Marve.

LB: Eddie Lackey, Baylor: Lackey was another part of Baylor's defense that put together one of its best games of the season. He made 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and five tackles.

DB: Jason Verrett, TCU: Most of Michigan State's night was frustrating in the passing game before some late success, and Verrett was a big reason for those struggles. He broke up two passes, made a tackle for loss and had 12 tackles.

DB: D.J. Johnson, Texas Tech: Johnson made 14 tackles and is on this team for one of the biggest plays of Texas Tech's season. The defense hadn't forced a turnover since Oct. 20, but Johnson picked off a Gophers pass in the final minute with Minnesota driving and the game tied. He returned it 39 yards, helping to set up the winning field goal as time expired.

DB: Jeremy Reeves, Iowa State: Reeves returned a Cody Green interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Liberty Bowl loss. He had six tackles with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.

DB: Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma State: No second-half comebacks for Purdue. Lowe opened the half with a 37-yard fumble return for a score and made seven tackles with half a tackle for loss.

SPECIALISTS

KR: Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech: This one is pretty simple. Grant returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score, giving Texas Tech a 7-3 lead early in the first quarter of its Meineke Car Care Bowl win.

PR: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State: Purdue faked a punt to keep its opening drive alive but punted on its next set of downs. The always-shifty Stewart delivered a 64-yard punt return, giving Oklahoma State the ball on the Purdue 19-yard line. The Cowboys scored for a 7-0 lead to kick off the Heart of Dallas Bowl rout.

K: Jaden Oberkrom, TCU: He edges out Texas Tech's Ryan Bustin, who kicked a 28-yard winner, for making all three of his attempts, including a crazy 53-yarder for a 16-14 lead with 2:42 to play. He also made kicks of 47 and 31 yards.

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State: He narrowly edges out Oklahoma's Tress Way (five punts, three inside 20, long of 58 yards, average 49.4 yards) for this award after pinning Purdue inside its 20-yard line on two of his three punts. He boomed a 65-yarder and averaged nearly 53 yards on his three punts. He was more valuable for Oklahoma State because field position mattered to Purdue. It didn't to Texas A&M.

Who will transform tomorrow?

August, 31, 2012
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Who's going to transform into a whole new talent this week? These are the five guys I'm watching closely in Week 1 to show us something special and change what we know about them.

Keep an eye on these guys:

Blake Jackson, WR, Oklahoma State: Jackson was the flavor of the spring in Stillwater, but for some reason, the attention slowed down this fall. The juco transfer will change that pretty quick on Saturday against Savannah State. The Tigers don't have the athletes to contend with his size and speed. It could be a big coming out party for the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder.

Terence Garvin, LB, West Virginia: Garvin was banged up late last season and missed a couple games with head and knee injuries, including the bowl win against Clemson. He's back now, and trying out a new position. He played "spur safety" in the Mountaineers' 3-3-5 scheme last season, but he moves up to play the "Star" linebacker spot in WVU's new 3-4 scheme. He'll start as a hybrid safety-linebacker and have plenty of chances to make plays as a senior with two years of starting experience. Big 12 fans don't know him now, but he can change that on Saturday.

Kale Pick, WR, Kansas: Pick's story is eerily similar to that of Kerry Meier. He started the first game of the Turner Gill Era, but lost out on his chance after that game. Since then, he's moved to receiver, and now, he looks like he might make a huge impact. He played well late last season, and coaches pegged him as the most impressive player of fall camp. He'll get a chance to showcase his skills against South Dakota State, and with the upgrade at quarterback now that Dayne Crist is in town, Pick could put up some serious numbers.

Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas: Brown battled through injuries last season, too, but he and fellow sophomore Joe Bergeron have focused on getting their bodies in ideal shape, and Saturday will be our first chance to see both. Brown is the headliner of the group, and though plenty of Texas fans want to get their first look at national player of the year Johnathan Gray, Brown should be the player who remains the most consistent force in the backfield for the Horns.

Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma: Coming Out Party City, population Metoyer. Expect big things from the freshman. He's waited a long time to finally make his debut in the crimson and cream. It's not exactly a headline-making opener, but Metoyer might make a whole lot of noise out in the West Texas town of El Paso. Prediction: He will be regarded much differently on Monday morning than he is today.

Opening camp: West Virginia Mountaineers

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
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Camp is open up in Morgantown. Before we get too deep in sweltering hot practices, I'll offer up a quick preview of what you need to know heading into the season.

See more fall camp previews.

Next up: West Virginia.

Media's predicted finish: Second (received seven first-place votes).

Biggest storyline: The Big 12 offered West Virginia a life raft out of the crumbling Big East, which lost all but two founding members by the time the Mountaineers left for greener pastures down South. Now, it's time to answer the question of whether or not a Big East power could win big in a much tougher conference. The Mountaineers won the league or a share of it six times since 2003, including three BCS bowl wins in three trips. WVU knocked off Oklahoma in a memorable Fiesta Bowl route, but that was one game. Time to put up or shut up every single week in big games in a loaded Big 12 for 2012.

Biggest question mark: Pass rush. West Virginia lost pretty much everybody that produced their pass rush from last season, and now, they're moving to a brand-new system, a 3-4 under Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson. Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller will be tough to replace, and now, in the Big 12, they're going to play much faster, more skilled offenses with quarterbacks who are taught to get the ball out of their hands and into the hands of guys who can make plays in the open field.

Who needs to step up: The passing game. These guys have gotten all the press this offseason, and simply put, must be great. The defense may demand it. You can win and win big in this league with a defense that's just OK, and West Virginia has the firepower to do it. Think Baylor in 2011, but with upgrades on defense. If West Virginia's going to be a factor in the Big 12 title race, Geno Smith has to validate his status as the league's preseason Offensive Player of the Year, helping Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin both log one more 1,000-yard season apiece. The trio must, above all, be consistent. One bad day and there's a long list of teams in the Big 12 that can beat WVU.

Fun fact: The Big 12 is just 1-4 against West Virginia in bowl games. Maybe the Mountaineers can petition to have every game this year played at a neutral site?

On the mend: Running back Shawne Alston held down the spot in spring camp, but sophomore Dustin Garrison is back after tearing his ACL in Orange Bowl practices. The shifty, 5-foot-8, 180-pounder averaged nearly 5.5 yards a carry last year, racking up 742 yards on just 136 carries, with six scores.

Breaking out: LB Terence Garvin. Garvin sat out the spring after undergoing knee surgery, but he'll take over the Star linebacker position that Shaun Lewis took control of to win Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors in 2010 at Oklahoma State. DeForest brought the position over from Stillwater, and Garvin's a speedy converted safety who could make tons of plays in the scheme. He proved himself as a playmaker in the Big East, but across the Big 12, he's basically an unknown. That may change quick this fall.
To begin the season, I see six teams with a legitimate chance to win the Big 12. Today we'll continue our series looking at why each team will or will not win the league. Next up: Newcomer West Virginia.

More contenders:
Why the Mountaineers will win the Big 12

[+] EnlargeWest Virginia's Geno Smith
Andrew Weber/US PresswireWest Virginia's Geno Smith passed for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns last season.
1. They have the most explosive offense. Nobody's got a better, more experienced pass-catch combo than Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Geno Smith and his top two targets, receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. The running game with Dustin Garrison and Shawne Alston isn't going to scare too many folks, but it's definitely good enough to make defenses respect it, and it benefits from the play of Smith, Austin and Bailey. WVU is entering Year 2 with Dana Holgorsen, and there's not a lot of reason to believe the trio won't be even better in 2012.

2. They've got plenty of inside knowledge. Dana Holgorsen's been in the Big 12 for nine of the past 12 seasons, and his new defensive coordinator, Joe DeForest, spent more than a decade at Oklahoma State. Running backs coach Robert Gillespie and new graduate assistant Andrew McGee, a former OSU cornerback, can help provide some insight into what the Mountaineers will expect on the field in the pregame preparation.

3. They're an unknown entity. Oklahoma has to make a trip to West Virginia on Nov. 17 in a game that may decide the league title. Nobody in the Big 12 has ever played this band of Mountaineers, and WVU can perhaps use that to their advantage. Big 12 defensive coordinators are familiar with Holgorsen's schemes, but nobody was really able to stop it when he was at Oklahoma State. Don't expect that to change with WVU this year, especially with the kind of talent he's fielding offensively.

Why the Mountaineers will not win the Big 12

1. Where's the defense? West Virginia lost essentially its entire pass rush from last year's team, which ranked essentially in the middle of the pack in the offensively-challenged Big East. It's a whole new world in the Big 12. Defensive backs Darwin Cook and Terence Garvin return, along with defensive lineman Will Clarke and cornerback Brodrick Jenkins, but this isn't the Big East, and WVU is changing schemes from Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 to a 3-4 with Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson. There could be a rough road ahead of the Mountaineers when it comes to trying to stop Big 12 offenses, which are in another stratosphere compared to what WVU traditionally sees on game day. The one advantage? They've gotten plenty of work in practice this offseason.

2. The Nebraska Effect: They've got too much to learn. Nebraska was picked by plenty of folks to win the Legends Division in its first year in the Big Ten. The Huskers had the talent, but instead, went 5-3 and finished third in the division behind Michigan and Michigan State. West Virginia has the talent to win the Big 12, but has to study up on nine new teams. The rest of the Big 12 only has to adjust to two new teams. NU got rocked by Wisconsin and Michigan, teams that weren't nearly as good as Nebraska's inexperience in the league made them look. WVU may see the same fate against unfamiliar opponents.

3. The inconsistency will catch up to the Mountaineers. Everybody remembers that nationally-televised bludgeoning WVU handed out to ACC champion Clemson. Doesn't seem like enough people remember a 26-point blowout loss to five-win Syracuse, or narrow wins over sub-.500 teams like Pitt and South Florida. West Virginia wasn't as impressive on a week-to-week basis as they were in their most prominent game in 2011. Even coach Dana Holgorsen admits that game has plenty of people thinking his team is better than it actually is. Will they improve enough between January and September to be a consistent team capable of winning a much tougher league? We'll find out soon.

Lunch links: Could Wes Lunt lose his spot?

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
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What are you looking at, Jar Jar Binks?

West Virginia spring wrap

May, 9, 2012
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WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

2011 overall record: 10-3

2011 conference record: 5-2

Returning starters: Offense (8), Defense (6), P/K (2)

Top returners: QB Geno Smith, WR Stedman Bailey, WR Tavon Austin, RB Dustin Garrison, RB Shawne Alston, S Darwin Cook, S Terence Garvin

Key losses: DE Bruce Irvin, LB Najee Goode, DE Julian Miller, S Eain Smith, CB Keith Tandy

2011 statistical leaders (*returners):

Rushing: Dustin Garrison* (742 yards)

Passing: Geno Smith* (4,385 yards)

Receiving: Stedman Bailey* (1,279 yards)

Tackles: Najee Goode (87)

Sacks: Bruce Irvin (8)

Interceptions: Keith Tandy (4)

Three spring answers

1. A clear defensive vision: Jeff Casteel packed up for Arizona and rejoined former WVU coach Rich Rodriguez in Tucson. He took the 3-3-5 with him. On the way to the Big 12, coach Dana Holgorsen went away from the defense that made a name for the Mountaineers. Now, he's got co-defensive coordinators Keith Patterson and Joe DeForest getting his team ready to utilize a 3-4 with a pass rush built to confuse and fluster Big 12 quarterbacks.

2. Wealth overflows at receiver: Bailey and Austin make a great case for being the Big 12's No. 1 and 2 receivers entering the 2012 season, but now true freshman Jordan Thompson adds even more depth to the position. He provides another target for Smith.

3. No worries on offense: WVU is already one of the most productive offenses, and any doubt was eliminated during a quiet spring in West Virginia before one of the most anticipated seasons in school history. The passing game should be fine, but Shawne Alston filled in well for Garrison, who was out this spring after seriously spraining a knee during practices for the Orange Bowl.

Three fall questions:

1. Can the Mountaineers handle the heat? West Virginia is no stranger to big games. Its played LSU and Auburn in recent years and is 3-0 on the BCS stage. Can WVU handle the week-to-week grind of the Big 12 and difficult venues every week? The step up from the Big East won't be as great as TCU's from the Mountain West, but it's still going to be more difficult. WVU was the only Big East team ranked in the top 25 for most of the 2011 season. Six Big 12 teams will likely be ranked in the preseason.

2. How explosive is this offense in Year 2? Holgorsen can work some magic with his offense, and he'll have lots and lots of toys in 2012. Brandon Weeden didn't get a second year with the offensive wizard, but Holgorsen has high hopes for special talents in Smith and Austin, two players he can't complement enough. Is West Virginia the best offense in its new conference?

3. A clear vision, but will it work? West Virginia recruited to build a 3-3-5 scheme, but it'll try and piece together the 3-4 in a defense that lost its top three pass-rushers from 2011. Holgorsen knows what he wants to do schematically on defense, but there's certainly reason to doubt whether it can handle the huge jump in quality of offenses from the Big East to the Big 12.

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