Rod Report

Rich Rodriguez touched on quarterbacks, freshmen impacts and singing contracts Saturday following West Virginia's first day of drills.

The fifth-year coach immediately emphasized the need for warmer weather. It's been a common complaint, and it's common knowledge that Rodriguez wants weather in the 90s for camp.

"We need one or two 90s," Rodriguez said. "I told them it would be 20 degrees hotter in the Dome. We may have to blow heaters out here if it is like this the rest of the week."

The Carrier Dome is typically 85-plus degrees for games. Morgantown's high was 78 Saturday.

West Virginia relegated most of the work to offense. The Mountaineers have battles at quarterback, receiver and running back. The youth has forced WVU to simplify early drills. It has put in just three of its 28 route packages to ease newcomers and non-starters into the scheme.

"We're not even close," Rodriguez said. "We have a lot of work to do to mentally be where we need to. I am spending a lot of time (with the offense)."

J.R. House and Adam Bednarik both told Rodriguez their shoulders were not hurting and that they felt fine throwing the ball. Bednarik, because he is behind on reps as a result of missing spring drills, took the majority of the snaps on the first day.

The Bethlehem, Pa. native wore an ice pack on his right shoulder following drills.

"I feel fine," Bednarik said. "It just remains to be seen how I will hold up when we go six or seven days. I'll learn a lot from that."

House, who is unavailable for comment, did not require an ice pack.

"Mentally he did a pretty nice job," Rodriguez said of House. "You can see that rust starting to shake off. But he hasn't played in seven years. I was pleased with him and particularly Adam. Pat White also did some nice things."

West Virginia will work scheme-teaching and fundamentals this week, but will begin preparing for Syracuse by next week. Eight or nine freshmen could figure in the mix, according to Rodriguez.

"We thought athletically (some of the freshmen) could help us," Rodriguez said. "It will take them awhile, but we have some players. We have a pretty good group."

The new NCAA law allowing freshmen to workout with the team if they enroll in classes has produced better-conditioned newcomers. All but two freshmen ran the fifths around Mountaineer Field. In the past, Rodriguez said, half would not have made it.

"Mentally they are still behind," Rodriguez said. "And there are so many that we will have to slow it down some. Whatever we would like to put into the next practice, we probably won't."


  • The competition between Phil Brady and Scott Kozlowski got plenty of media attention. Because kicking is an easily-understood and viewed battle for basic fans and writers (unlike offensive line or linebacker, for example), it will likely be scrutinized.

    Brady, who is not on scholarship, said the scholarship awarded Kozlowski made him work harder. Brady was at WVU in the second session of summer school after working as an electrician's assistant in May and June.

    Brady wore an ice pack on his kicking leg following drills. He said it was merely a sore hamstring.

  • Parkersburg South's Colby James was not in camp today. He will report Aug. 28 with about 15 others.

    The other player absent, freshman defensive back Marquis Melvin, signed a record contract and told Rodriguez he was not going to play football. The 6-0, 200-pounder was out of Whiteville High in North Carolina. He sang in school and church choirs, and was all-state in football. Rodriguez said it was the first time he ever lost a player to that.

    "I was kind of hoping he would stay around until we had our Gong Show," Rodriguez joked. "I knew he was a singer. I didn't know he was that good."

  • Former WVU and current Cincinnati Bengal linebacker John Thornton taught Mountaineer defensive linemen a few new drills for the fall. Thornton was in Morgantown in the summer and gave basic instruction to a few of the linemen.

    "We have some new stuff we can't take credit for," nose guard Ernest Hunter said. "Some chopping drills and things he taught us to get faster with our hands."

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