Mountaineers Adjust to Midweek Game Schedule

Sunday afternoon's workout will be the last heavy hitting day as West Virginia prepares for Virginia Tech on Wednesday night, and the odd schedule can be a problem for the team.

"We've been through this before, but the athletes have it tougher," head coach Rich Rodriguez said of the modified week. "It affects your class attendance. Only about half of the team will miss class on Wednesday - our travel squad. But it's still an adjustment. I guess basketball has done it a lot, and we're getting a taste of it now.

"We had a good practice on Saturday," Rodriguez noted. "We had a couple extra days to work on preparations for Tech. Yesterday was good because it was cool, so we got used to that a little bit."

Rodriguez noted that he is trying to get his team to concentrate on each play, saying that "we don't need to play perfectly." He believes that keeping the view on the next play is the key to putting together performances like the Mountaineers had at Miami.

"You're not going to win every play. Just try to win the next play, and concentrate on that. You hope your guys are competitive by nature and enjoy the type of challenge that playing a Top five Team brings. I think our guys wanted to prove a little bit against Miami, and Tech will be the same situation. They have a lot of guys that will be playing on Sunday.

"Not a lot of guys get this type of opportunity, and we're getting it twice in one month. Hopefully they will enjoy that."

Rodriguez admitted that the coaches have had time to put a couple of wrinkles into the game plan, but that catching Tech off guard, or explointing a weakness, will be difficult.

"The thing that makes Tech tough is that they are not weak in any area. If you stop the run, they can throw the ball. They obviously have great special teams, and they are sound in all areas. We have to just not panic, especially if they make some plays early," the Mountaineer mentor analyzed.

"With the extra days, we will have the chance to put in a wrinkle or two in the hopes of getting a big play."


Rodriguez noted that his wife Rita spotted the same crew officiating the Miami-Temple game that did the WVU-Rutgers contest. and just like the Mountianeers' game, the crew threw lots of flags during the Hurricane - Owl battle.

"We watch some games together, and she said that it looked like the same cres," Rpdriguez noted.

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Despite Rodriguez' doubts about the overall progression of his team, he does see improvements at a number of individual positions, especially those of young ones.

"I don't know how much better we are than we were at the start of the season. After the Miami game I thought we were better, but after Rutgers I don't know. We still have question marks going into every game. At this point in the season you shouldn't have that many questions. But our attitude has been good and we have worked pretty hard.

"We are seeing some progress from players. Jeremy Hines got fort snaps against Rutgers and will be in a starting role. Dan Mozes has been a starter all year. Mike Lorello, Chris Henry, and Pac Man are other young men that have seen a lot of playing time and improved. There are a lot of first year starters/second year players who are getting their chance and are getting better."

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On the injury front, the offensive line is the only trouble spot as game week begins. Tackle Garin Justice is back at practice, but not at full speed yet, and center Ben Timmons hopes to return to the field today.

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