Big East internal affairs

October, 1, 2008
10/01/08
11:05
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

West Virginia: The Mountaineers have been strong in most areas on special teams, except for kickoff coverage. They're allowing more than 30 yards per return, ranking 115th out of 119 FBS teams. They gave up two long returns to Marshall last weekend. Head coach Bill Stewart, who oversees special teams, said he will concentrate on that area in practice. The loss of special teams headhunter Jim Lewis to a broken foot has hurt the unit.

Cincinnati: The decision on a starting quarterback this week may go all the way up until game time on Friday at Marshall, head coach Brian Kelly says. Kelly will choose between redshirt freshmen Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson to replace the injured Tony Pike. Kelly said the late decision isn't about being coy but about giving both quarterbacks more practice time in a short week. He said the offense will concentrate on specific plays for whichever quarterback wins out.

Rutgers: Redshirt freshman Jourdan Brooks appears to have cemented his status as the team's No. 1 running back. Brooks started the past two games, scoring five touchdowns combined against Navy and Morgan State. He had twice as many carries as Joe Martinek and three times as many as Mason Robinson in the Morgan State game. With Kordell Young possibly out for the year with a knee injury, Brooks may become the team's workhorse back.

Pittsburgh: Weakside linebacker Shane Murray finally played last week after a preseason knee injury, getting in on about 15 snaps versus Syracuse. Head coach Dave Wannstedt said he thinks Murray's role will increase this week against South Florida, though Austin Ransom has played well in his place. Wannstedt said more time from Murray would allow Ransom to be fresher in his special teams roles. Starting receiver Oderick Turner, last year's leading pass catcher, has struggled with drops and may lose playing time to Cedric McGee.

Connecticut: The Huskies' defensive front had to hang on against Louisville last week after losing tackles Alex Polito, Kendall Reyes and Rob Lunn to ankle injuries. All three are expected to be available Saturday against North Carolina. Quarterback Zach Frazer will make his first start, replacing the injured Tyler Lorenzen, and his strong arm could allow UConn to do more things in the downfield passing game. But head coach Randy Edsall said Frazer is also a good runner who can make plays with his feet like Lorenzen.

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