Ready, Set . . .Pfffffffft

Everything was set for the West Virginia University football team to hit the practice field for the first day of spring drills on Saturday. Everything, that is, except the weather.

After a string of near perfect days, Saturday dawned dark and rainy, with a cold front that dropped temperatures near the fifty degree mark.

Faced with the choice of trying to begin practice under poor conditions outside or jam everyone into the Caperton Indoor Facility, the decision was made to postpone the start of spring drills until Monday.

"Every spring practice is critical for us." head coach Rich Rodriguez said of the decision to cancel Saturday's practice. "We are putting in a new defense, and we have a lot to get accomplished. We just didn't feel like we could get much done outdoors in the weather conditions we were faced with today."

The indoor facility, while providing cover, simply doesn't offer enough room for all the different drills and work that goes on during the typical spring practice, so Rodriguez and his staff made the call to try again on Monday after viewing a poor weather forecast for the remainder of the day.

"It didn't look like it was going to get any better as the day went along, so we thought it would be better to try again next week.

"It's a bit of a letdown - we were all down here early, and the kids were excited, and we were ready to go. But, we'll make it up sometime after the break."

Practices are scheduled for Monday through Thursday of next week before the team is dismissed for semester break.


The delayed opening will help several players who would have seen limited work on Saturday. Chief among those were the defensive backs, where Brian King is still in a cast following wrist surgery to correct a break that never healed properly from his high school days, and Anthony Mims, who has a hamstring pull.

Others who will be limited during spring practice include wide receiver Phil Braxton, who is still recovering from a broken bone in his foot, and, of course, Caleb Cooper, who contiues his remarkable recovery from a near fatal auto accident.

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Other than injuries, the most dreaded phrase one can hear during spring and fall practice is "NCAA Clearinghouse". That boogeyman reared its head recently in the case of tight end Jason Hardee, a junior college transfer from San Mateo, California.

Hardee, who was thought to be a qualifier out of high school, has had a high school class questioned by the Clearinghouse, and as a result cannot play or practice until that issue is resolved.

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