Night Moves

Head coach Rich Rodriguez was more upbeat after reviewing tape of West Virginia's convincing win over arch-rival Pitt, and notes that the Mountaineers have saved their best efforts for night contests.

"It was a great win over a very good team," Rodriguez said of the exciting 52-31 demolition of the Panthers. "The environment and atmosphere were great. After watching film we still have a lot to improve, but our effort and enthusiasm were good. We had some new guys make some key plays, and now we have the opportunity to control some of our own destiny."

After beeing less thatn satisfied with his team's effort against Boston College, Rodriguez felt like the Mountaineers got back on the right track in that regard. Part of the reason for that may have been the time of the game.

"We do seem to play well at night," the third-year coach said of WVU's wins over Pitt and Virginia Tech.

While Rodriguez was happy with his team's play, he said that he is even more excited about what is to come.

"The most pleasing part is that we think we can get better. Even when we were 1-4, nobody panicked. Our effort and focus were good - we just needed some confidence. I don't think we have "arrived" yet or are playing our best football."

The roots of the improvement were planted in the Miami game, when the Mountaineers went toe to toe with the Hurricanes, but weren't satisfied with the oh-so-close result.

"When I looked around the locker room after that game, guys were mad and ticked off. I liked that competitiveness," Rodriguez noted.

On the subject of Syracuse, Rodriguez said that the Orangemen provide a unique test due to their multiple formations and uses of motion.

"Syracuse has good players. I am impressed with their offensive line. Their quarterback has been great, and they have playmakers. They have a lot of weapons, and they do a lot of things that make it tough to prepare because of all the shifiting they do. They have exploded on some teams at home, so we know we have a lot of work to do. Our guys know it is going to be a tough challenge."

RIFLE SHOTS

Rodriguez continually emphasized that his team, and program, are still works in progress, but that he is generally pleased with the progress that has been made.

"We still think we have a lot of work to do. Last year we had an experience doffensive line, and we ran well from the start. This year we were inexperienced there, but Coach Trickett has done a good job in getting them together.

"(Offensive lineman) Dan Mozes has really played well. He didn't play much against Pitt, but for a redshirt freshman he has played really well. He has kind of emerged as one of our leaders up front.

"I thought we'd get better as season went along because we have youth up front on the offensive line and on the defensive front and at wide receiver."

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No results were available yet on Pat Liebig's MRI, which was conducted late last night. However, all indications point to a tear, possibly in the MCL. If that is the case, Liebig will likely miss the rest of the season.


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