CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Butch Jones spent two years as an assistant coach at West Virginia University. Rich Rodriguez was the head coach during Jones’ two years with the Mountaineers and current WVU head coach Bill Stewart was also an assistant on staff. Jones and Stewart both coaches on the offensive side of the ball in 2005 and 2006 before Jones took his first job as a head coach at Central Michigan. Stewart reflects fondly on his two years with Jones, calling him a dear friend, “Butch Jones is a coach I have known for many years,” Stewart said. “You never like to coach against your buddy. He is a great coach and a master of attention to detail. We will block all that out for a few hours and put our friendship on hold.” Stewart and Jones go head-to-head for the first time on Saturday in Morgantown.
PLENTY RESTED – Both the Bearcats and the Mountaineers will return to the field on Saturday following their final bye week and looking to erase the memory of their most recent game. The Bearcats last played on October 30th falling to Syracuse at Nippert Stadium. West Virginia last played on October 29th, losing 16-13 in overtime at Connecticut. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings against the Mountaineers including an overtime thriller at Milan Puskar Stadium two years ago.
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COLLAROS EXPECTED BACK – Jones said Monday during his weekly BIG EAST conference call that junior quarterback Zach Collaros practiced Sunday and he fully expects him to play on Saturday against the Mountaineers. Collaros was injured at the end of the USF game on October 22nd, had hoped to play 8 days later against Syracuse and was unable to go. After resting all of last week, Jones hopes to have his No. 1 signal caller back this weekend. Last season, Collaros started four games in place of injured Tony Pike, including the Bearcats win over WVU at Nippert Stadium. Collaros was 17/24 passing for 205 yards but did not throw for a touchdown. That was the game which Brian Kelly used Pike inside the red zone, leading to two Bearcats scores.
SUNDAY VISITORS – With the Steelers and Bengals playing at Paul Brown Stadium Monday night, the Steelers arrived in Cincinnati on Sunday, meaning a few guys with ties to the UC staff had an opportunity to swing by Clifton. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley played for Bearcats defensive line coach Steve Stripling at Michigan and wide receiver Antonio Brown played for Jones and his staff at Central Michigan. Both Woodley and Brown stopped by to see their old coaches and meet the Bearcats after arriving in Cincinnati.
DINNER WITH COACH – Last Friday night Jones had his senior class over for dinner at his house. Without a game this past weekend, Jones said he used the opportunity to hang out in a non-football setting where his seniors, “could laugh and relax.” The Bearcats will travel to Morgantown, WV this Friday.