For Phil Braxton, this season has been a struggle to reach the levels of performance demanded by the coaching staff. And just when he appeared to be reaching those heights, he broke a toe in Saturday's win over Rutgers and is lost for the remainder of the regular season.
Braxton blocked well against the Scarlet Knights, springing Cassell Smith free for a touchdown with one excellent hit, but exited the game after Rutgers' only touchdown.
To replace Braxton, WVU will employ a group strategy, including Miquelle Henderson, Shawn Swindall, Shawn Terry and Derek Jones.
In other items, Rodriguez continues to point at getting off blocks as the biggest factor in improving the defense against the run.
"Our problems have been more about getting off blocks than they've been about missed assignments," Rodriguez notes. "We did better at that this week, but we have to improve."
To that end, WVU has spent a good deal of time on those skills recently.
"We've worked more on fundamentals the past three weeks than we have in any other game week. We have to get better at that."
The big problem here is that both play left guard, so if they are unable to play Brad Knell will likely swing over to the left guard and be replaced by Geoff Lewis on the right side. Lewis did just that in the first half against Rutgers and did a creditable job.
In this game, the offensive line will be put to an extreme test against the powerful front line of the Orangemen, so every available body will be needed for WVU to extend their winning streak.