Better Results

West Virginia's Thursday practice in the staidum might not have fully met head coach Rich Rodriguez' expectations, but the performance was better than Wednesday's officiated scrimmage.

The Mountaineer offense looked sharper than in Wednesday's moribund effort, and although no coach is every satisfied with a team's work in August, there were enough good results head off any further diatribes from the coaching staff.

With the team in shells, the passing game was the highlight of the full team work. Both offense and defense worked on the two-minute drill and end of game situations extensively. The defense worked on sets with extra defensive backs and pass rushers, often removing a linebacker to combat the passing attack of the offense.

Quarterback Rasheed Marshall threw the ball well during the hot afternoon session, and seems to be developing the kind of rapport with wide receiver Chris Henry that he used to enjoy with Miquelle Henderson. Henderson, who has missed the majority of fall camp, is just one of many players who are losing valuable time.

"They have me worried because they are missing reps," Rodriguez said of the injured parade. "The guys that are missing them are the ones that need them."

The good news is that most of West Virginia's injuries are not major, but the downside is the sheer number of them. In addition to Andrae Wright and Erick Phillips, who are out for an extended period, ten other players were in green (limited action) jerseys, including Eddie Jackson, Jeff Berk, Alphonso Gross, Travis Garrett, Jeremy Sheffey, Dee Alston, Milo Austin, Ryan Thomas, Dorrell Jalloh and Bryan Wright. Red jerseyed players included Jake Figner and Ben Iannacchione, in addition to Henderson. Chris Malamet sat out entirely with both head and leg injuries, and Kevin McLee also missed practice due to a family issue.


Adam Lehnortt is undergoing disciplinary action for his summer misdemeanor arrest.

"He made a bad decision, and will have to pay the price. He already is," Rodriguez said.

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The practice was the hottest of the fall, with temperatures in the upper 80s to go along with humid conditions.

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Standout performers on the day included Ridwan Malik, who continues to impress at the bandit position, and Chris Henry, who routinely turns in a great catch in just about every practice. Henry makes many of those catches look easy, and thus tends to fly under the radar on the practice scene.

Running back Pernell Williams also looked good as he received some additional time due to the absences of Gross and Wright.

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Pass blocking was a bit of a concern, as defenders put the quarterbacks under pressure more often than the offensive coaches would have liked. Marshall put his increased speed to good use on more than one occasion to escape the rush.

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Once Saturday's scrimmage is over, attention will turn to East Carolina next week. Rodriguez hopes to have a tentative two-deep and travel roster established by Tuesday, when the starters and key reserves on both offense and defense will begin working against the scout team to prepare for the Pirates.

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