Mum's The Word

Jeff Mullen

After a Mountaineer workout inside the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility on Saturday, West Virginia offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen refused to confirm or deny reports that he has interviewed for the head coaching position at Kent State.

Mullen, a native of Lima, Ohio who has ties to KSU athletic director Joel Nielsen dating back to the time both spent at Wake Forest (Mullen as the football program's quarterbacks coach and Nielsen as an associate athletic director), interviewed for the job earlier this week according to a report in the Ravenna Record-Courier.

Asked directly if he had interviewed for any jobs, Mullen dodged the question.

"I'm going to keep my focus on N.C. State," Mullen said in response. "I really appreciate your concern."

That came on the heels of a brief opening statement offered by Mullen, who would complete his third season as the Mountaineers' offensive coordinator if he coaches in the Champs Sports Bowl.

"My focus right now is 110 percent on the Champs Sports Bowl and for N.C. State," Mullen said before any reporters asked questions. "So if we could please keep questions focused on our opponent and what we need to do to get a win, I'd really appreciate that."

West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart refused to add any comment on the possibility of Mullen accepting a job at Kent State.

Asked if he would want any assistant that would take another job to stick around to help the Mountaineers prepare for their Dec. 28 match-up with North Carolina State, Stewart was mum.

"I'm going to focus on the N.C. State Wolfpack," Stewart said. "I don't know how to explain it any better than that."

BRUNETTI: STILL THE BACKUP:

In similar fashion, WVU coaches did not comment on the status of backup quarterback Barry Brunetti, who announced on Twitter this week that he does not intend to return to Morgantown after the Champs Sports Bowl.

But sports information director Mike Montoro reaffirmed Saturday that Brunetti, a native of Memphis, Tenn., has not approached the football office to inform staffers of that decision and has not requested a release.



Barry Brunetti
That was confirmed by Stewart, who said he and Brunetti "have not had that type of discussion" when it comes to a possible transfer.

Brunetti participated in practice as normal Saturday, wearing his gold No. 11 jersey and taking snaps as the second-string quarterback.

After Mullen spoke about the difference in the productivity of the Mountaineer offense once starting quarterback Geno Smith began to run the option a bit more in the last third of the season, the offensive coordinator was asked if his ability to call those plays (should Mullen still be at WVU next year) would be affected if Brunetti would depart, leaving Mullen with his fourth different backup quarterback in four seasons.

"It won't affect our ability to run it here in two weeks," Mullen offered in response.

HOGAN'S STATUS UNCERTAIN:

Senior cornerback Brandon Hogan did not play in the second half of WVU's 35-14 win over Rutgers in the regular season finale last week after sustaining a knee injury.

Hogan was not seen inside the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility on Saturday, as team officials said the Manassas, Va., native was receiving treatment on the knee while practice was underway.

But Stewart was somewhat cryptic when asked what exactly Hogan's injury was diagnosed as, and he also expressed a bit of uncertainty as to whether the cornerback will be available for what would be his last college football game.

"I don't know [the diagnosis]," the head coach said, explaining the injury occurred when two players "sandwiched" Hogan's knee on a punt return. "You'd have to talk to [head trainer] Dave Kerns. It's a wait-and-see right now."

Sophomore cornerback Pat Miller, who played in Hogan's stead during the Rutgers game and would likely start the Champs Sports Bowl if Hogan is unavailable, seemed to indicate that Hogan is unlikely to play.

"Hogan, I wish he could be here for his last game," Miller said. "Me, Brodrick [Jenkins], [Keith] Tandy and Brantwon [Bowser], we're going to all go down there and hold it down for Hogan."

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