Things of That Nature - Wofford Edition

West Virginia has dominated defensively in its first two outings, holding Syracuse and Wofford to just 57 plays each. And while a number of factors may have been involved in recording that impressive stat, Rodriguez believes the simplest answer explains it best.

"I think it's a matter of our defense getting a lot of three and outs," Rodriguez said. "I didn't realize whe had as many long drives as we had [against Wofford]. We had a 68-yard, a 74-yard, and 80-yard and a 95-yard, so we kept the ball. Four long drives is good, and three of them were 10 plays or more.

"Of course, sometimes our blocking could have been better and the drives could have been shorter. Against a 1-AA opponent you should probably get a few more big plays than what we did."

WVU recorded six series where they allowed the Terriers three plays or fewer.

Rodriguez said game tape was inconclusive in looking at a disputed field goal attempt by Pat McAfee at the end of the first half that was ruled no good. He also added that the rule states that a ball that goes straight over the top of the goal post is no good in college -– it is considered to have hit the upright.

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To no one's surprise, Rodriguez indicated that team speed is the biggest reason for the defense's excellent start.

"As a group, all 11 guys move well, the big guys run pretty well, and the linebackers move well," the coach indicated. "That's the thing, being able to chase people down. We see it every day in practice, and overall I think it is pretty good."

Also of help is the fact that WVU, now playing this same scheme for four years, has had most of its defenders "grow up in the system". Most have played no other defense in college, and the familiarity that is built over playing the same thing for three or four seasons has a positive effect.

"That has given us more flexibility to do more in the system, which in turn gives opponents a few more things to prepare for," Rodriguez noted. "We are committed to it and are able to recruit to it."

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The injury situation is excellent. Josh Bailey sustained a hip bruise which will limit him for a couple of days, but he should be fine for the weekend. No other major problems were reported coming out of the Wofford contest.

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Although the basic game plan employed against Wofford might have allowed WVU to do some look ahead work to Maryland, the Mountaineer coaching staff did not work any on the Terps last week. Part of the reason was a short week of preparation for the Terriers, brought about by the Sunday road contest at Syracuse. Rodriguez did sneak some looks at the Maryland-Clemson game before the WVU game on Saturday, but does not have tape of that game yet. He plans to talk to Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden frequently this week.

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Although Rodriguez preaches to his players to play the "one game at a time" thing, it's obvious they were already thinking about the next opponent on the schedule.

"I mentioned to them in the locker room, 'you know who is next', and they shouted it out: Maryland!" It's a rivalry game for us. They've had the upper hand most of the time, although we sneaked one out last year. It's a good test – Coach Friedgen has done a great job and they recruit a lot of guys we try to recruit."

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A decision on whether to swap Dan Mozes and Jeremy Hines between the guard and center spots will be made "sometime this week", according to Rodriguez.

"Dan played pretty well, but we will wait a couple of days and see how it pans out. He did some pretty positive things there," Rodriguez said.


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