"The game has really slowed down for Pat," Rodriguez said. "He makes plays when they are not designed for him. I have heard opposing coaches say they knew what we were going to do, they just could not stop it. Well, that's still part of it. You gotta stop it.
"We have to have a variety of ways to run the ball and move it. Quick screens and lateral throws are a part of that. When you have a quarterback who can run, I always thought it was easier to find hole when you spread it out."
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Rodriguez has spoken with quarterback Adam Bednarik and his family the sophomore's status. Bednarik's shoulder hindered his performance this year, perhaps more than fans or media realized.
"I talked to Adam and his family about the situation," he said. "I would have liked to play him more, but we only got 54 plays. And Pat made some long scoring runs. It is hard to take a guy out when he is hot like that. We needed those plays. Adam is very good and I have confidence in him.
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On BCS versus other bowls: "There is really not that much difference in the BCS and other top bowls. In the BCS you are going to play a good team, probably one of the Top 10, which I thought we did last year, too. It's like making the Final Four. Whoever you face is good. We have not had much success in bowls, but I think part of that has been who we have played. The other teams are good, too.
"I just want our guys to play well. I worry about us. If the other team beats us and is better, that's fine. But we want to give it our best shot."
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On West Virginia's mindset entering bowl preparation: "Our guys have been focused all year. This is the most I have seen them celebrate, after the South Florida game. After Pitt, I mean, they were happy, but it wasn't like after South Florida. I think they are real excited about the game. We are anxious to go and compete.
"Our guys know they can play, but they are humble somewhat, too. I'm not going to jump off the Westover Bridge if we don't win. We might have a parade through downtown if we do. It's a strange season. We had postponements, long layoffs. Why not play Georgia in Atlanta?"
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On the national attention WVU is receiving: "The BCS is overrated in a lot of ways. It brings attention, which is something West Virginia needs. We need that national exposure. If we had a population like other schools, where we have 40-50 Division I prospects within an hour, it would be fine. But there are so many misconceptions about our state that it is tough sometimes. How do you go into another school's backyard and get players to come to West Virginia, especially when it is 80 degrees there?
"We are showing them pictures of our place when the sun is out in the summer, not this time of year. The best way to beat other teams is to have better student-athletes. Once we get them here we have a shot. There is a reason USC and Texas are playing for the national championship. Just like Georgia, they are probably one of the top five football states. And they get all the kids. They are the University of Georgia, and so there are a lot of UGA connections in there."
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On what a win would mean for West Virginia and the Big East: "We'd like to play well. And if somehow we would win, it would be tremendous for us and the Big East. It would be a chance to silence a few critics and for us to put our chest out a bit. I watched a little bit of that 1993 game. I remember they had Jake Kelchner and Darren Studstill, whose helmet got knocked off somehow. Well, not somehow, but pretty violently. I hope that does not happen to Pat."
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West Virginia is still finalizing its bowl schedule. The Mountaineers are off for finals, then will begin bowl preparations Dec. 22. The administration is still finalizing practices in Atlanta and detailing locations and times. WVU will be the visiting team.
The alumni association is also finalizing plans. Among them will be the normal fan center, a band/cheerleader showcase and the possibility of a New Year's parade in Atlanta. It is WVU's fourth consecutive postseason appearance, a first since 1981-84.