Rasheed Likely Out

Many coaches would be a bit on edge (or more likely, freaking out) when announcing that their starting quarterback likely won't be available for a big road game.

However, Mountaineer head coach Rich Rodriguez was a picture of calm when making that statement on Tuesday.

"More than likely, Rasheed Marshall will not play," Rodriguez said. He had an MRI on Monday evening, because he still had a little bit of a headache. The symptoms have lingered a bit longer than expected. The doctors waited a day or two to see if the headaches went away, and when they didn't they did the MRI. We don't know the results yet. He will travel with the team, but most likely won't play."

After dropping that bit of news, Rodriguez went on to express his confidence in backup Charles Hales.

"We will prepare Charles to start. The guys like him, and he acts like he's been in there a lot even when he's not. He'll be a good leader, and is a very confident fellow. He knows what we are doing.

"Adam Bednarik will be the backup. He is as well prepared as any freshman could be, and is very intelligent. Josh Broeker will be the third-teamer.

With only a true freshman and a walk-on behind Hales, Rodriguez admits that he will take a few steps to try to protect Hales on the field. Rodriguez will try to walk the fine line between minimizing Hales exposure and weakening the game plan, which can be difficult.

"(Will we) try to protect Charles? Sure. I think you have to be cautious, and you probably aren't going to run as many options and quarterback traps and things like that. You have to do what you do to win the game, and I think Charles likes to run them, but you have to be smart about them."

RIFLE SHOTS

With the quarterback situation, WVU may try to lean even more heavily on the ground game. Jason Colson and Erick Phillips have "shown they are ready to play," according to Rodriguez, and as a result the coaching staff will make an effort to get them into the rotation more routinely.

* * *

Rodriguez had a neat rejoinder to a premature question about being the favorite to win the Big East conference next year, in light of Miami and Virginia Tech's defection following this season.

"I think we will have a chance to be a pretty good team next year, but everyone is pointing to Pitt to be the leader. We were within a play of beating Miami and we beat Tech, so maybe the balance of power was starting to shift anyway."

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Boston College's old artificial turf surface might affect one item in the game plan, but it won't change West Virginia's practice plans.

"With the old artificial turf like Boston College has, the rugby punt can be a good weapon, because you get more roll," Rodriguez noted.

Boston College is good at rushing the punter, which could be another indicator that the rugby punt, unused in recent weeks, could be dusted off for the Eagles. While the surface could affect that play phase, it won't cause the Mountaineers to move inside the Caperton Indoor Facility to get acclimated.

"If weather is bad, we will go inside, but we won't use it to prepare to BC," Rodriguez said.

* * *

Rodriguez noted that he was a bit surprised over the talk about a holding call in the BC-Pitt game last week.

"One team had four penalties, and the other had two. Give me four a game, and I'd be happy. They called fifteen on us. But to imply in any way, shape or form that the officials in the Big East are making calls against BC or Miami or Virginia Tech [because of the conference situation] is a slap in the face of the professionalism of the officials." Rodriguez then concluded, with a wry grin, "Do you think that will get me a call or two?"

* * *

With four big pass plays in the last four games, Rodriguez seemed to be leaning toward going downfield a bit more.

"If we keep getting the types of coverages we are, then we have to go deep more. You worry about protection and having a big negative play instead of a positive play, but Charles can make the same throws that Rasheed did." Rodriguez cautioned, however, that Boston College has not played a lot of man to man coverage without deep safety help, which is a scheme the Mountaineer exploited in recent games.

* * *

Rodriguez also noted that the defense is continuing to gain confidence against the run.

"The run defense has done a pretty good job. You'd think it would me more suited against the pass, with our 3-3-5 scheme, but our guys are confident against the run, because they understand the "fits" or where they belong in the system."


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