WVU's Hogan takes steps to become leader

Brandon Hogan doesn't know how many stairs he ran in the spring.

"I didn't keep count," he said.

But it's safe to say the number easily reached the four digits. The West Virginia cornerback spent almost as much time running the steps at Milan Puskar Stadium during spring ball as he did practicing. The senior found himself in Bill Stewart's doghouse for his efforts -- or lack thereof -- in conditioning and in academics.

By the time fall camp rolled around, the first-team All-Big East performer was listed at No. 2 on the depth chart at his position.

The good news is how Hogan responded to those tough times. When the Mountaineers opened the season against Coastal Carolina, he was again starting at cornerback, and his interception near the end of the first half pretty much ended any thoughts of a Chanticleers upset or close call.

"Some way, some how, I was getting something out of it," Hogan says of his punishments. "It was making me better."

Stewart has had his issues with Hogan, but part of that is because he sees so much potential in his player.

"He's hard-headed like me," Stewart said. "He and I would have been great buddies growing up, I'm sure. I personally recruited him, so I'm a little tougher on Brandon Hogan than probably most would be. But I do it for a reason."

Hogan began his career as a receiver and had 12 catches as a true freshman. He moved to the secondary his sophomore year and had an immediate impact even as he was learning the position. Now, it seems natural.

"I've had more experience, more plays, more game experience," he said. "I'm going on my third year with it now, and I just feel more comfortable with it."

The 5-foot-10, 189-pounder was named to the preseason Jim Thorpe Award watch list, and has the ability to be the best corner in the Big East if he can maintain his consistency. And stay out of trouble. But he said his days of running stairs should be over.

"That's in the past," he said. "I'm moving on past that, and I'm more mature now. I'm glad all my coaches push me."

His coach has no complaints about Hogan right now.

"He's playing well and has been a good leader," Stewart said. "And so far, he's not missing any classes."

He's probably not missing running those stadium steps, either.