What's The Topic?

Even though West Virginia will be facing a top five team in Virginia Tech just eight days from now, the first part of Rich Rodriguez' Tuesday press conference was dominated by subjects from all points of the compass.

Questions came concerning the conference situation as well as a statement put out by the Department of Public Safety and Rodriguez' reactions to it. There was even a comment made about squelching a rumor that WVU's passing game was going to be predicated on fourth down situations (an unfunny reference to West Virginia's long touchdown pass at the end of the fourth half against Rutgers).

To his credit, Rodriguez did not display any lack of patience in answering these queries, but the talk final did return where it belongs -- toward the action on the football field.

"This could be their best team," Rodriguez said in assessing Virginia Tech. "They were really good when we played them here two years ago, and they had a great team with Corey Moore that we played at Clemson.

"They don't have any weaknesses. All three phases are about as good as they can be."

Rodriguez noted three offensive players on Tech's team that will give the Mountaineer defense and special teams problems.

"(Running back) Kevin Jones takes those little three or four yard gains and makes them into 60 or 70 yard gains. He'll make that little jump cut and nobody can catch him. He's probably the fastest one in our league.

"(Quarterback Bryan) Randall may be the key to their offense. He's underrated, and does everything for them, from the option to running and throwing the football. He's the guy that we have to control and contain.

"We'll probably try to defned DeAngelo Hall by not kicking to him. We have some things in our punt game, like the rugby punt, that let us do some different things. We have to be able to directional kick the ball, but at the same time, we can't have any 20-yarders either.

Facing the Tech defense is also a cause for concern for the Mountaineers, who haven't displayed the explosiveness of last year's team on the ground. However, Rodrgiuez knows that WVU has to make some headway in the running game to have a chance to win the overall war.

"We didn't expect to run the ball like we did last year, but if we can have some success in the running game and pop a big play or two, we can make some things happen."


Rodriguez is not concerned with playing on a Wednesday night.

"You miss one day of classes playing on Wednesday. Thursday they should be there (in class), but that depends on how the game goes," Rodriguez noted with a smile. "Being at home is easier than on the road. It's just different, but you make adjustments."

* * *

Rodriguez says he thinks the fact that Quincy Wilson didn't have a lot of long runs made the number of carries (40) that he had in Saturday's game less of an issue.

"I didn't know how many carries Quincy had, but I asked him how he felt and he said he was ok. I think he had a few more in him. He's a strong guy, and I think he can handle that many. We're going to ride that horse as long as we can.

* * *

Rodriguez said he is not hearing much from his players about conference issues.

"Players don't ask about Big East conference situation. Our guys in the program are more concerned with what's happening in our immediate future."

* * *

Rodriguez also commented on two role positions and their contributions thus far.

"(Fullback) Moe Fofana understands his role, and is one of the most unselfish players we have. He's also done a great job on special teams. His role is to lead the way for the tailback, and he has set a good standard for any fullback we have in the future.

"Our tight ends are blocking pretty well, but its amazing we haven't caught any this year. We're still going to throw to them. They are still working hard."

* * *

In response to numerous questions about a plea for good fan behavior at Wednesdays game, including the report that the plea included a request to not boo the other team, Rodriguez added with a chuckle, "Or the home team, either!"

Rodriguez did note that the teams and coaches on the field were just pawns in the current situation.

"These are college kids, that had nothing to do with the decision. Neither did the coaching staffs. It's us against Tech, and that's enough for us."

* * *

WVU will conduct a light practice on Tuesday, then go full bore on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday there will be no practice as the coaches hit the road for recruiting, but the schedule returns to full drills on the weekend, then prep work on Monday and Tuesday before the game on Wedensday.

* * *

When asked about Boston College coach Tom O'Brien's statement that he was concerned about officiating being slanted against the departing Eagles, Rodriqugez was quick to add, "I am too! Did you see our game on Saturday?"

"To think that our Big East officials would have something against BC because they are leaving the league is way off base," Rodriguez went on. "Coaches always want it slanted their way, but it usually evens out. If there's some poor officiating, its because they are making poor calls, not because of a bias."

* * *

The injury situation is still cloudy along the offensive line. Garin Justice (knee) and Ben Timmons (shoulder) will probably be out until the weekend. Brian King (wrist) should be able to practice today. Miquelle Henderson (groin) should be able to go on a limited basis today.

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