Rod Report - Day Six

West Virginia worked out in shorts and shoulder pads this morning before going to full gear for the first live contact drills this afternoon.

Passing and fundamental work were emphasized in the morning session. The Mountaineers plan to work short yardage and goal line situations in the afternoon.

A key for that will be fullback Owen Schmitt. Schmitt did not practice Thursday because of a concussion suffered in Wednesday's drills. He did work out this morning, and is expected to be cleared for full contact this afternoon.

The other notable injury was to defensive back Abraham Jones, who jammed his neck against Eric Wicks' knee diving for a loose ball. It is not known how serious the sprain is, but Jones was moving all limbs, so it is not a life-changing injury.

West Virginia's offensive installation will continue. It is not where it needs to be, but is where head coach Rich Rodriguez likes it at this time. All the quarterbacks said they felt comfortable with the system now and anticipate the live contact drills to sharpen that base knowledge.

The defense has not missed many assignments and looks to be more athletic than past units, Rodriguez said.

Both squads will be tested by WVU's first scrimmage on Saturday. It will not be a full-scale scrimmage, but rather situational work involving as many players as possible. No score will be kept, and plays will be stopped for instruction.

Rodriguez wants to start whittling his roster down to a two-deep. That starts today.

"The first four of five practices we repped three or four groups," Rodriguez said. "Now we have to start doing one or two. We need to know who our two-deep are and what positions they are at, particularly in the secondary and at receiver."


  • The NCAA change allowing freshmen to work out with the team while taking summer classes has put Jason Gwaltney and Steve Slaton ahead of past freshmen backs. Rodriguez said they were as good of a freshman group as he has seen.

  • Jason Colson and Pernell Williams are running with the first team. Gwaltney is also taking some snaps there.

  • WVU does not plan to practice in the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility to ready for Syracuse. The Mountaineers will use it only for poor weather practices and, perhaps, one day during Syracuse week.

    Rodriguez said he does not like the turf in the facility. WVU plans to replace it, though a date has not been set.

  • Rodriguez reiterated that his top two quarterbacks are Adam Bednarik and Pat White, with J.R. House and Dewayne Thompson battling for the third spot. Thompson will begin taking snaps at receiver soon.

  • Rodriguez on Mike Lorello:

    "Besides the leadership, he is a tough player. He is underrated as an athlete. He's a good athlete in space, and he has a knack for recognizing things. He is one of the best blitzers we have. He is just a good football player. He'll play defense and special teams and be a leader."

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