Intensity Defined

WVU head coach Rich Rodriguez admitted that his team may have let down after taking a 20-3 first half lead against East Carolina, but knows that his team can't afford any such lapses this weekend.

"It was a great crowd and we got the lead quickly and relaxed a bit," Rodriguez said during the Tuesday Big East conference call. "It should be another electric atmosphere this weekend. This has been a really good rivalry. The play is always physical and tough. We have had some good games aginst them the last three years; they have gone down to the last possession, and there has been a lot of emotion on both sides."

WVU's fifth-year coach reiterated the praise that he showered on Virginia Tech on Sunday.

"I think Virginia Tech has a great defense. It might be the best we have seen in our 4 1/2 years here, period. They are well-coached, they are rarely out of position, and have athletes at every spot that can run and hit. We are looking for a weak spot, and haven't found one yet".

Given one sentence to describe the Tech series, Rodriguez was succinct: "Very intense."


Brandon Myles has emerged as a solid player at wide receiver, and Rodriguez is looking for even more from the junior receiver.

"He has played pretty well," Rodriguez said of the Virginia native. " He had a couple of big catches in the last game, and has made a play in each game this year to help us out. He's one of the fastest guys we have. We're proud of him and what he has done so far, and I believe his best football is still in front of him."

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Rodriguez also had comments about slot receiver Darius Reynaud, who has complemented Myles well.

"We are pleased with his play so far. He's a first year player (Reynaud sat out last year as a non-qualifier), so he's really a rookie. "He's starting at slot, and has made some big plays for us. He's made a few mistakes too, like any first year player. But he's one of our most explosive players, and he has a tremendous future. He's a good young man and one of our hardest workers at the skill positions. We thought he would be able to contribute early, because he was well-prepared coming out [of high school]. He's still learning, but he runs so well in the open field and has good hands, we think he will get better and better. We're not surprised by how well he has played, but we are excited about it.

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With Louisville's loss to conference counterpart South Florida, the media has now moved on to its next cliché' of coverage – namely, that West Virginia now must "carry the flag" for the Big East conference. Rodriguez moved quickly to refute any such notions.

"I think a lot of times the media puts that label on a team and I understand why, but I think a lot of teams in the Big East are carrying that mantle. I think all eight feel that way," Rodriguez said. "This league is going to be a lot more competitive than a lot of people think."

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Rodriguez might have simply played back a recording of comments made in the past about Michael Vick, as he believes brother Marcus presents many of the same challenges.

"He's a great player. There's no question comparisons with his brtoher are warranted. He is playing like he's been the guy for a couple of years. You have to pick your poison with him. Drop off into coverage and he takes off and runs, blitz and they pick it up and a big play happens."

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Rodriguez continued to be dismissive of the chance that Jay Henry or Pat Liebig will play against the Hokies.

"Both are getting treatement. Jay is probably making a little better progress, but both are day to day. We missed them at times defensively last week. We need more depth up front, and if Pat is out, that will hurt."

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Rodriguez did allow himself to reminisce a bit about the 2003 game, although he was quick to discount any parallels between that game and the upcoming 2005 contest.

"Two years ago, it was a great atmosphere, a night game," he recalled. "Tech was good, but we felt our team was starting to come together, We got some big plays early, a big pass play, a couple of big Quincy runs. We fed off the emotion of crowd, I think that was good as we could play at that time. It was a great win for us."

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