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Monday, September 13, 2010
Players' bad decisions could hurt Pitt, WVU

By Brian Bennett

Wow, was there a party in the Pittsburgh/Morgantown area this weekend that I wasn't invited to, or what?

A double-barrel dose of bad news arrived today, as reports surfaced that Pittsburgh running back/kick returner Jason Douglas and West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan were each arrested in separate incidents and charged with DUI.

Both cases are troubling. In Douglas' instance, he is accused by police of hitting a man with his car while intoxicated and then speeding off. It sounds like he might have come close to killing someone, if reports are correct.

Meanwhile, Hogan is an NFL-caliber talent who can't seem to stay out of his own way. Just last week, I wrote a story about how he was trying to overcome some of his past problems, which included running stadium stairs most of this spring for various offenses. In April, he was charged with public urination and disorderly conduct. Head coach Bill Stewart also didn't like the way he worked in conditioning or his attendance mark in classes.

"He's hard-headed like me," Stewart said.

Hogan didn't want to talk much about the spring incidents when I asked him about it last week. He insisted that he'd grown up and gotten wiser.

"That's in the past," he said of his problems. "I'm moving on past that, and I'm more mature now."

Apparently not, if the police reports are correct. If so, Stewart will have very little choice but to suspend Hogan now, especially given his track record. And that could really hurt West Virginia, since Hogan is their best cornerback and, I think, the most talented one in the Big East. Losing him puts a big dent in the defense, which has to play Maryland and LSU in the next two weeks.

Pitt's Douglas has already been suspended indefinitely and would have a hard time working his way back if those accusations prove accurate. Douglas already played a key role in this season for the Panthers in a negative way; he fumbled away a kickoff return that led to a score by Utah in the opener, a game Pittsburgh wound up losing in overtime. He wasn't going to get much playing time at running back behind Dion Lewis and Ray Graham, but Pitt's coaches were intrigued by the 5-foot-7 redshirt freshman's quickness.

Both players might have run out of chances at their respective schools.