Things of That Nature - Wisconsin Edition

Head coach Rich Rodriguez provides his "day after" thoughts following West Virginia's hard-fought 24-17 loss to Wisconsin.

"We made some critical mental mistakes at the absolute worst times - a couple at the beginning of the game and a couple on the last drives of the game," Rodriguez said on Sunday. "I didn't think we got really tired. We just had breakdowns that we can't have."

Other than the blocked punt, Rodriguez thought it was a clean contest for an opener.

"I was a little surprised there were no turnovers in the first game. There were not an enormous amount of penalties either. For a first game it was well-played."

Unfortunately, WVU couldn't eliminate the one slopplily played aspect of the game, which was on special teams. While Wisconsin missed a pair of field goals of their own (for a possible loss of six points), WVU maed it up by providing the Badgers with a gift touchdown to open the scoring.

Wisconsin, which wasn't even trying to block the punt, got linebacker Alex Lewis free up the middle for an unfettered snuff of Todd James' attempted boot.

"I was very disapponted in the punting game. We had a mental mistake on the first one and let the guy come through, and and then we had a couple of poor punts and didn't get the ball off as quickly as we need to. Todd didn't have the type of day we know he's capable of."


Rodriguez reversed his stance on the hit that put Rasheed Marshall out of the game for the better part of two quarters.

"I thought it was a clean shot after watching it. I think it was more the shoulder pad under the throat that a helmet to helmet hit. There was another one on Charles Hales that we thought was like that, but I ended up thinking the one on Rasheed was a clean hit."

* * *

All of the players injured, with the exception of Jahmile Addae, should be ready to practice on Monday. Addae again strained the shoulder that has been bothering him all fall, and will be day to day, although it's hoped he could return by Wednesday.

"Rasheed is pretty sore, but he should be ok to go tomorrow," Rodriguez said. "Quincy is also banged up buth there's nothing that should keep him out. When all those injuries started happening, I thought that the stars aren't aligned right or something.

* * *

It wasn't just injuries that caused missed time. Grant Wiley had a helmet problem that caused him to miss several plays before it was repaired.

"I yelled, 'Throw anyone's helmet on him!' Rodriguez said with a laugh. "Tha't how important he is to us."

* * *

Erick Phillips got all the second team running back snaps, as he has passed Jason Colson for that position. The battle remains a close one, however, and Rodriguez still hopes to get Colson into games. Rodriguez added that he hopes to use more sets with two superbacks on the field as the season progresses.

"We didn't do as much with two backs yesterday as we did last year with Quincy and Avon, but we want to do more of that as the season goes along. We didn't play as many guys as I would have liked to."

* * *

Despite WVU's low number of plays, Rodriguez thought the offensive line acquitted itself well.

"I thought the offensive line held up mentally, but it was tough to move Wisconsin out of there. We were starting four new guys, plus it was Jeff Berk's first game at tackle.

"Garin Justice played pretty well," Rodriguez added of the West Virginia native, who replaced Tim Brown at right tackle. "He was holding his own, so he played a little more. I think he played exceptionally well for his first time out."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories