Things Of That Nature - VT Edition

Head coach Rich Rodriguez admitted that it's easy to look at "could haves" following losses, but review of the tape from WVU's 34-17 loss to Virginia Tech revealed a number of missed opportunities.

"I thought we played pretty hard, and the guys gave good effort, but I was disappointed in the missed opportunities we had offensively," Rodriguez revealed. "The front seven did not play as well defensively and didn't hold point of attack very well either. There are some things we can learn from this, but I was kind of disappointed after watching the film. I thought we had some chances to sneak that game out."

Also contributing to the loss were the low numbers of chances the Mountaineers got with the ball. WVU had just one possession in the third quarter, and three in the second half.

"I can't remember in 21 years of coaching having just 48 plays and three possessions in second half," he said. "You look up, and the next thing you know it's the fourth quarter and you never had the ball. That game went so fast, it was crucial for us to make most of the opportunities we had."


The injury report appears a bit better, as no one that was shaken up or hurt in the Tech game is out for next week. Adam Bednarik, who is nursing two sore shoulders and a bad knee, "feels better than he did at this time last week", according to Rodriguez. That statement did not apparently include Anthony Mims, who did not dress, or Vaughn Rivers, who made only a brief appearance. Both of those players were injured prior to the Tech contest.

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Despite the loss, Rodriguez still has hopes for his young team.

"I don't know if this game is a measuring stick [more than any other]," he said. "We can't make crucial mistakes and overcome them. I think we have some pretty good football players, and our guys will battle, and we are getting some young players that are showing some things. I think we have a chance to be pretty good and win some ball games."

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Steve Slaton, after playing well in his first extended action, has a good chance to start in next week's road contest with Rutgers.

"I thought he played well," Rodriguez noted. "He missed a thing or two, but after the first pitch he dropped and picked up, we thought he played really well. He gives us an explosive weapon at tailback, and I am glad we got him in there."

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With WVU in the midst of a stretch of eight games in eight weeks, the concern of fatigue, especially younger players, is a concern. Rodriguez is taking steps to ensure everyone can handle the grind, which doesn't conclude until WVU's trip to South Florida on Oct. 22.

"We have shortened some practice the last few weeks and we'll cut a few periods out this week, too," he explained. "It is a grind, and I can't remember going eight straight weeks before, but I think our young guys are handling it well. We have to make sure they take care of their bodies and get the proper rest."

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With WVU struggling to defend the pass, Rodriguez said some items would be looked at on defense. Cornerback and defensive line rotation were mentioned; with rotation along the defensive line still an item to be looked at. On the offensive side, receiver remains an area of concern, with more depth needed.

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The ACC officials calling the game never saw Adam Bednarik hurt on the sideline, and thus spotted the ball for play and started the clock, even though they should have called an injury timeout. Tat forced Rodriguez to call a timeout of his own, as Pat White was still throwing a couple of tosses on the sideline to warm up.

"I didn't get an explanation for it," Rodriguez said of the officials' decision, "but I don't think they saw him (Bednarik). I guess they didn't see he was down, but I don't know how they missed it, because everyone else in the stadium saw him. They started the clock so I had to call the timeout."

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Looking ahead to Rutgers, Rodriguez sounded the usual alarms about the Scarlet Knights being overrated. Those might have more of an impact this year, as the Knights could easily be undefeated coming into this game.

"Rutgers is pretty athletic, he said of the team that raced to an early lead against Pitt, then held on for a win. "I thought they were underrated last year. They have some good skill players, they are playing with confidence, and they have some veterans that are good players."

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