Yin and Yang

Head coach Rich Rodriguez, like most coaches, sees good and bad in just about every situation. His view of the six-week postponement of the South Florida game is no different.

"I guess we'll find out [whether it's good or bad]," Rodriguez said noncommittally after learning of the new date for the game (Dec. 3). "There are two sides to it. On one hand you'd like to play because you have some momentum. I liked the guys' energy in practice this week. But, we are a little banged up, and now we will have some more time to get some guys healthy before Connecticut. SO, I think the benefit will be from the health standpoint more than anyone else.

"We've had a busy stretch, but you only worry about the things you can control," he continued. "I think everyone that made the decision looked at every factor. They took into account safety for the players and for those attending the game."

Although he didn't say it, Rodriguez was obviously pleased that the December date, rather than Oct. 25 or 26, was chosen, as South Florida hoped. He did note, however, that these types of reschedules seem to be more frequent.

The only other postponement we've had was the Maryland 9/11 game. Someone reminded me of that earlier," Rodriguez noted. "But when you think about the number of schools in Florida now, and more and more hurricanes, I think it will continue to be an issue. It seems like we are getting more of them all the time."

RIFLE REPORTS

As is his custom, Rodriguez would prefer that the rescheduled game be played in the afternoon. He does not like sitting around all day waiting for night games, and also prefers getting home at a reasonable hour from road trips.

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The postponement will result in some juggling of the practice schedule. Thursday's practice will be a physical one, with lots of hitting, and include some scrimmage work at the end for the scout team and younger players not on the two deep. Friday will be a light day of work, with an early ending to allow players to get a head start on the weekend. Rodriguez is giving the team Saturday and Sunday off.

"I'll surprise them with that at practice," Rodriguez noted. "We'll get back to practice on Monday and get back into a normal routine. It will be good for them to get a couple of days to relax. It's a well-deserved break."

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The game cancellation will also have an effect on the staff and coaches. The staff had planned to do high school visits and evaluations in Florida on Friday, but will now reschedule that task – likely until Friday, Dec. 2. The coaching staff will instead hit the road for evaluations in neighboring states. Following that, Rodriguez plans to shutter the Puskar Center on Saturday.

"I told the staff I didn't want to see anyone on Saturday," he said. "No one has had a day off since before August. I hope they all stay home and reacquaint themselves with their families. I'm going to spend some time with my family do some work around the house and watch some college football."

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The move of the USF game bumps Pitt from the season finale spot, and could, in some eyes, remove some of the luster from the Backyard Brawl. Rodriguez, however, isn't buying that line of thinking.

"I don't think you can do anything to take away from the Pitt game," he said. "Whether you play in the middle, at the end or 6 months from now, we view it as one of the biggest games on our schedule. The significance of the Backyard Brawl makes it important enough."

Should USF and WVU win the rest of their games, the Dec. 3 showdown would determine whether WVU wins the Big East championship outright or shares it with the Bulls.


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