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July 17, 2007

Big East Media Day Notebook

Big East Media Day Photo Gallery | Competition drives WVU's White, Slaton

Rutgers top assistant football coach Chris Demarest was charged with assault after an altercation in a bar at the Jersey shore.

Demarest was arrested early Saturday, Sgt. Mike McGlennon said Tuesday.

The name of the alleged victim has not been released, but McGlennon confirmed published reports that it was a woman who was in a relationship with Demarest.

The 42-year-old Demarest is free on bail of $2,500. He'll be required to appear in municipal court, but a date had not been set, McGlennon said.

Demarest has been the defensive secondary coach at Rutgers for three years. In March, he was promoted to assistant head coach. Before coming to Rutgers, he was defensive backs coach at North Carolina State from 2000-2003 and a graduate assistant at Florida State from 1998-99.

Demarest did not return a phone message left at his office Tuesday.

Head coach Greg Schiano was asked about the incident at Big East Media Day.

"I am still in the process of gathering information, I just heard about it recently, when I do I will (address it)," Schiano said.

Kelly takes shot at Cincinnati media

Bearcats coach Brian Kelly was disappointed by the absence of Cincinnati media outlets at the event.

Kelly used the gathering as a sounding board for his frustration. He regularly thanked other news outlets for coming over to talk to him, for giving his team coverage and for simply attending the Media Day.

The Bearcats coach went on to say, "I am still going to coach the team and we are still going to compete for a Big East title. But it is sad for the fans of Cincinnati to not have a legitimate, credible local media outlet. Our fans would be better served going to Rivals, Sporting News, or even the Boston Globe because they are credible sources who care enough about their product to be here."

Wannstedt has high praise for freshmen

Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt is quickly building a solid reputation as a recruiter. On Media Day, he was given the opportunity to discuss several of his incoming freshmen.

"Anthony Jackson came in and really impressed me with his speed," Wannstedt said of the 6-foot cornerback from Florida. "After about a week of conditioning he was running consistent 4.3 40s and is probably the fastest guy on our team."

Wannstedt quickly shifted focus to a big, local offensive lineman who caught his eye.

"Chris Jacobson is another guy I have been very impressed with," Wannstedt said. "He may be the most physically mature player we have. He is definitely as physically mature as an incoming lineman can be."

While those are clear physical attributes, having a high football IQ can also increase your likelihood of early playing time.

"Football awareness-wise and intelligence-wise Dom DeCicco will be tough for us to keep off the field. Whether he is at wide receiver or safety, he will see playing time for us."

When asked how many freshman players would be contributors for the Panthers this season, Wannstedt replied, "Seven guys will play for us right away."

Leavitt not buying a Ford, yet

When South Florida coach Jim Leavitt was able to land former Rivals.com 5-star running back Mike Ford, the obvious thought was that Ford would be a complementary player to quarterback Matt Grothe. However, the man who started the USF football program is still not sold on Ford.

"Mike has looked good on the practice field, but that's it. I am not going to give him too many accolades because he hasn't done it yet. How good is he, I don't know. I will by the end of the season, but right now he has not done anything yet."

Pacman Fever

Former West Virginia players Chris Henry and Adam "Pacman" Jones have experienced problems off the field since leaving Morgantown. WVU coach Rich Rodriguez addressed Jones' situation.

"We had him for three years. He got in a bar fight his first year, but other than that he was good in the community, a hard worker, did all he had to do. But, you know, you lose contact with him. I haven't talked to him in probably a year and a half, two years. He used to talk to Coach (Tony) Gibson about once a month, but even he hasn't heard from him in a year. It's disappointing. He is really up against it now.

"All of the sudden you have money and freedom and less structure. If you aren't mentally prepared to handle it, bad things happen. I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing that the NFL is taking such a harsh stance on the off the field issues."

Rodriguez added that he does not see any similarities between the personalities of Jones and recent signees Noel Devine and Pat Lazear. Some schools stopped recruiting Devine and Lazear because of off-the-field concerns.

Big East Media Day Photo Gallery | Competition drives WVU's White, Slaton

Dallas Jackson is the Big East producer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at djackson@rivals.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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