Rod Report - Day Three

West Virginia's progress took a day three hit, according to head coach Rich Rodriguez.

The Mountaineers, in their first day in shoulder pads and helmets, didn't showcase the enthusiasm and effort they had the first two days. Rodriguez frequently had to stop practice to teach players how to practice ‘ hard, physically and, perhaps most important, intelligently.

"I didn't think it was a very good practice," Rodriguez said. "I am used to a veteran team who knows how to practice. We had to spend half the practice explaining how to practice."

That wasted time better spent on schemes and learning. WVU went well over its desired time and did not leave the field until after 6 p.m.

The Mountaineers did do a bit of scrimmaging between both first teams. It was not a full-scale scrimmage, but rather a basic walk-through of players and formations with the occasional live snap.

"We are so unique in what we do defensively, and somewhat offensively, that we need to go good on good," Rodriguez said. "A half of an hour of 45 minutes of that everyday."

West Virginia got in that time and more Tuesday as players were a bit too overaggressive and so caused pile-ups and potential injury situations on base plays that were unnecessary.

"You can't tackle guys," Rodriguez said. "We have to get them to do what we call ‘thud.' You butt them up and let them go. Let's face it, when you're in shorts there should not be anybody on the ground. When you watch the pros there is never anybody on the ground.

"We should be athletic enough that we don't have guys on the ground. But we've got guys on the ground, falling down, getting knocked down, grabbing people. It's frustrating because somebody is going to get hurt just because they don't know how to practice. I am upset because I took time last night and before practice to explain it to them."

Rodriguez was pleased with the team's conditioning, but noted that West Virginia still lacked football-shape (intelligent intensity in drills, and running and thinking well). He was happier with the weather (83 degrees, sunny), but said still hotter conditions were needed.

The players that missed spring drills (offensive line leaders Dan Mozes, Jeremy Sheffey and Travis Garrett, wideout Brandon Myles and Mike Lorello) has good summers and have reported in shape and handled themselves well in the first three days.

That's especially key with Myles because he is expected to be among the top receivers. Mozes is also the emotional leader of the line.

"I think Myles was bothered by the hernia last year," Rodriguez said. "Maybe more than he let on. He was never completely healthy, then lost confidence because he could not go full speed. I think he feels and looks better and is more confident."

Myles and Rayshawn Bolden will play both outside wideout positions. Freshman receiver Jeremy Bruce has been impressive enough that he is in the two-deep without even donning pads. Note, though, that many youngsters look very good until the physical play begins.

RIFLE REPORTS

  • J.R. House and Adam Bednarik both did not have as much zip on passes as Rodriguez would like. Neither are complaining of pain, but the velocity has not returned yet.

  • Freshmen are expected to play at wide receiver and running back, Rodriguez said. Frosh wideout Ryan Dawson and junior Travis McClintic did not take part in drills because both have minor shoulder injuries. They are expected back within the week.

  • Tight end Adam Serena is limited because of a cut he suffered in Fairmont's Wave-Tek Pool. The pool recently reopened, and Serena stepped on a drain and sliced the foot open. It is unknown when he will be able to practice full-speed. He is in a green (no full contact) jersey.

  • Steve Slaton and Jason Gwaltney will likely see time at superback. Both have good ball skills, along with Pernell Williams and Jason Colson.

  • True freshman Marquis Melvin, who told the coaches he was dropping football to sign a music recording contract, is expected to talk with Rodriguez tonight. The defensive back from North Carolina will play football after deciding against the music career for now.

    "Hey, we had that annual Gong Show coming up, and he was the odds-on favorite," Rodriguez said. "Without him, it might be coach (Herb) Hand again, singing a rap song, and that's not really good."

    Rodriguez said he usually gives freshmen one chance, which is always circumstantial.

    Offensive lineman Mike Watson, a transfer from Michigan, quit and was allowed back. Tight end Sean Berton, who decided to leave WVU after Rodriguez came in because of the lessening of time at the position, asked to come back and was not allowed.

  • Brandon Barrett is not as in shape as most of the other players who were at WVU in the summer. He has done "a couple good things" and will be monitored through camp.

  • Rodriguez noted that bruising fullback Owen Schmidtt and Colson looked especially good the last two days.

    Colson is the best back catching passes out of the backfield, and Rodriguez said that helps because "he gives us a little flexibility because teams don't know whether he will be in the backfield or at receiver. He was very physical today."

    Defensive backs Eric Wicks and Antonio Lewis were also mentioned.

  • Former WVU quarterback Chad Johnston and his two sons took in practice.

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