Temple Quarterback Presents Problems

Head coach Rich Rodriguez is concerned about the ability of Temple quarterback Walter Washington, who has racked up big numbers while making the Owls very competitive against two of the better teams in the Big East over the past two games.

"Washington has 657 yards and four touchdowns against Pitt and Virginia Tech the past two weeks," Rodriguez noted. "That's a lot of production, and it seems like he's hitting his stride right now."

The junior college transfer has energized the Owls' offense, and beocme something of a one man gang. In Temple's 30-16 loss to Pitt, Washington passed for a career-high 278 yards on 24-of-40 attempts, and also finished as the Owls' leading rusher for the fourth straight game, finishing with 26 carries for 72 yards. Washington was responsible for 350 of Temple's 370 total offensive yards in just his fourth career start.

Washington's exploits look familiar to the Mountaineer coaching staff, and Rodriguez notes that much of the Owls' run game is very similar to his own.

"Some of their run game out of the shotgun is similar to ours, and some of the pass routes they run are the same. They don't use the I formation and two backs and a lead blocker like we do, but a lot of their run game, we have done and used before. It's kind of like where we were a couple of years ago.

"Washington does a lot of designed runs. Sometimes he reads the ends, and sometimes he just keeps it himself. Those are plays called for him to keep it. A lot of times it's one on one, and he either runs people over or makes them miss. Virginia Tech had him defended scheme wise, and he just made plays."

Rodriguez also noted that Washington is different than Rasheed Marshall, in that WVU's quarterback is "more of a speed guy, where Washington is a 'make you miss' guy." WVU opponents have been trying to keep Marshall in the pocket more this year, which is why West Virginia has worked hard on the passing game.


Quincy Wilson remains in a boot and will probably not see any contact this week.

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Asked to comment on the difference in offensive production this year, Rodriguez observed, "We've had more stability on the offensive line, and they have gotten some experience. And recievers like Chris Henry have come on. Basically, we've had good continuity and gotten better execution."

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Although it's a bittersweet event, Rodriguez looks forward to the seniors' final home weekend.

"The seniors get a chance to talk to all the team on Friday night, and we show a highlight of them, too. I tell them the greatest achievement as a college football player is not being an All-American, but in working through your entire career and completing your career, and knowing that you went through it all for four or five years.

"I know when Avon gave his talk last year there wasn't a dry eye in the place. He talked about not wanting to get all the notoriety, but about feeling like one of the guys. We told him he was one of the guys, but he always worried that other guys didn't get the recognition or their name in the paper."

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