"Wait Til Saturday"

Head coach Rich Rodriguez is ready to tee it up against Wisconsin, but admits that a number of facets of the Mountaineers game aren't easy to evaluate until the team hits the field for real.

Rodriguez says his team has worked to improve a number of items, but that the results of their efforts won't be known until the Mountaineers encounter the Badgers this Saturday.

"Tackling will be a key, and that's something we won't find out until gametime." Rodriguez said. "We've worked on that a lot. I'm anxious to play. This is the first time we'll get a true measure of our team. But it's not the be all and end all if we win or lose."

Compounding Rodriguez' worries is the fact that several of his defenders have seen limited action over the past couple of weeks. While many of those players are veterans, the fact that some of them haven't seen much contact is an issue the coaches are wondering about.

Among those players, free safety Jahmile Addae is a leading concern, mostly due to the nature of his position, which requires sure tackling and physical play.

"Jahmile Addae hasn't hit anybody full speed, so that's a concern. He's been out there, but he hasn't banged around very much," Rodriguez noted.

As for the opposition, Rodriguez observed that Wisconsin will provide stiff challenges on both sides of the ball.

"Their four down guys (defensive linemen) may be as good as we'll face all year," Rodriguez said. "That's probably our biggest concern. they shut Colorado down in their bowl game, and you just can't move them around much. That will be a big key. They are an 8 man front and get a lot of guys in the box, and their safeties are good tacklers.

"The other thing is that they don't miss assignments. They understand their responsibilities. You don't see a lot of teams busting big plays on them."

"Offensively, Anthony Davis reminds me of Avon when I watch him play," Rodriguez continued. "And their wide receivers are an excellent group."

Another of the coaching staff's challenges will be to get pressure on Badger quarterback Jim Sorgi, who isn't as mobile as former starter Brooks Bollinger but who is a better passer.

"If we let them stadd around for 10 seconds we'll be in for a long day," Rodriguez said as he recalled last year's pass rush follies. "We have to do different things to get pressure - I'm not sure if you can do it with a three man front.

"But, we don't want to get away from our base (defense). With so many new guys, we don't want to outthink ourselves. We may have to keep it simple early in the season.

"Our three linemen have some pass rushing ability, and sometimes they'll have to generate a rush without a blitz. We'll have to bring a linebacker or someone else to help sometimes, too."


On Quincy Wilson: "Quincy had a good year and is even in better shape now and is in more control offensively. His knee doesn't bother him at all. That's modern technology, and (Wisconsin wide receiver) Lee Evans is a testament to that too."

On Running Backs: "We need two other guys for backup at that spot. Running back is our deepest position, but Quincy is the only guy that has played much. We'll play two at one time a good bit, so we need to have the backups ready."

On The Fans: "I'd like for us to get a sea of gold but it may take a little time to do that. If the fans are listening, we'd like for them to wear their gold tshirts and blouses or whatever."

On Rahseed Marshall's role in the offense: "Rasheed's role will probably expand. We've worked against teams loading up the box. The key is how much success we have in the run game and how many risks we will take. I don't mind doing that and throwing it every snap if we have to. We didn't do as much with him in the passing game as we would have liked to last year."

On Wisconsin's rumored use of the spread offense: "We have heard rumors about them spreading it out, but truth be told I think you stick with what you do best."

Comparing players in their first and second years in the program: "Aaron Neal and Travis Garvin are much more comfortable after a year in the program. Neal is playing 3 different positions, and Garvin two. And they are both in better shape. Chris Henry and Brandon Myles are probably where Neal and Garvin were last year."

On punting and coverage: "We've worked on hang time and kicking away from returners. We don't want to lose a game on a kick return or a punt block, but you just can't work too much on kickoff coverage live in camp. We did it a few times, but you can't do it too much."

Mountaineers Daily Top Stories