Maryland Week

Head coach Rich Rodriguez can finally turn his attention to Maryland, although many fans and media members have been talking about this game since the spring.

"It was all anyone asked about duing the offseason," Rodriguez said as he commented on the big upcoming game against the Terrapins. "I think it's been on all our minds, but I don't want to put any undue pressure on our players and tell them we have to play a perfect game to win. I don't want to put them into a 'make or break' situation. I have been telling our team that all the other games count as one, just like this one. So, we'll compete and see what happens."

Although WVU fans would probably like to score the same number of points against Maryland as Rodriguez employed cliches in that last paragraph, the fourth-year coach does admit that this game might be a little bit bigger than the first two contests. He added that he is eager to see how his team performs against the Terps, in large part because his team played so poorly in last year's contests.

"They have good players, their coaches have done a great job, and they have recruited well," Rodriguez said as he ticked off the reasons for Maryland's recent domination. "When we got behind against them, we didn't fold up, but we couldn't battle back. I think we are more talented this year, but we have to show it on the field."

Rodriguez also said that he has examined every possible facet of WVU's preparations for the game.

"I've done everything but hire a voodoo doctor and a psychiatrist," he joked. "We've looked at our mindset going in, our practices, everything. That's what was so disappointing about the bowl game. We had good practices, and then laid an egg.

"They've just been better than us," Rodriguez summed up. "But, we haven't played our best game against them."

RIFLE REPORTS

Rodriguez highlighted a pair of other points in the recent WVU-Maryland series that led to Terrapin wins.

"Their offensive line is still big and strong, and I do think it's been a physical thing in past games," he analyzed, "Their offensive line has played very well this year.

"Rasheed Marshall hasn't played his best games against them, but a lot of that wasn'this fault," Rodriguez continued. "Our offense does start with the quarterback, and his ability to make plays with his feet and arm is important."

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While defensive lineman Ben Lynch is expected to be ready to go on Saturday, Kay Jay Harris' status is still up in the air.

"He's questionable right now," Rodriguez noted. "He was here at 6:30 a.m. for treatment, but it's a major question for us. He was still limping pretty good today. Jason Colson has played well, but when we want to go with two-back sets that puts us down to the third team guy, Bryan Wright, and he has an ankle."

Little-used reserve Freddie Little made an appearnce in the two-back set against UCF, but did not carry the ball.

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The game may feature the best matchup of retun men in the country, with Maryland's Steve Suter squaring off against WVU's Adam Jones.

"Suter has killed us with a punt return every game," Rodriguez said. "He had a long catch in the Gator Bowl too. We've tried to kick away from him, but a couple of times he's gotten it and hurt us. We'll try to game plan and not let him beat us."

For his part, Jones said that he doesn't view the matchup as a personal competition.

"I'm here to make plays for West Virginia," the multi-talented defender and return man stated.


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