November 12, 2007

Slatons seal off Steve from a worrying world

MORGANTOWN-Steve Slaton lives in a different world than the fans and the media that surround him; a major reason is because of his family.

Many know the story of how Slaton's mother, Juanita, would watch his practices while father Carl worked a second shift. Juanita, who admittedly was not a big football fan growing up, would draw O's on a piece of paper to show where Steve's teammates lined up on the little league practice field and an X for Stevie.

When Carl came home to Levittown, Pa., at night, he would check them out. On afternoons, he would take Steve and Juanita over to an industrial parking lot and with the help of garbage can lids, potted plants, anything he could find, he would re-align what Juanita had noted, and have Steve run through them.

While other parents push their sons and others around them to the point of boredom, the Slatons bring barbecue and good talk to pre-game tailgates at Milan Puskar Stadium. They rarely talk Steve unless somebody broaches the subject of their son, who is having a perceived off season after earning consensus All-American status in 2006.

But another piece of the Slaton network gets less play; this would be brother Charles Tiggett of New Jersey, who also has been integral in the life of the West Virginia junior.

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