Thursday Wrapup

Head coach Rich Rodriguez was in a better mood after WVU's improved practice session on Thursday.

"I was pleased with the practice and thought today's was pretty good," he said. "The weather was cool but for us it was balmy. Our guys were focused. It can be hard to tell how well you are doing until you play a game, but sometimes you can tell by the number of mental mistakes in practice, and the last two days we have made very few."

Rodriguez also addressed the age old question of balancing fun versus work at a bowl venue.

"We talk to the players and appeal to their maturity about balancing fun and work, and they've been very mature about that," Rodriguez explained. "No one wants to miss the fun of the bowl, which is what would happen if they had a problem. And as I told them, if you screw up, your name is on the bottom of the ESPN ticker nonstop, and you don't wqant to embarrass your family or our program by doing that."


In the middle of Rodriguez' comments, a reporter's cell phone began sounding "Bad Moon Rising". Coach Rod immediately identified the band as Creedence Clearwater Revival, thus winning the day's "Name That Tune" competition.

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Rodriguez' best line about the noise and hubbub cause by 2400 kids in the team hotel:

"You almost need 1200 sets of parents here."

He acknowledged that the Hyatt staff and Sugar Bowl representatives have been very good in addressing his concerns.

Curfew for New Year's Eve will be 11:00 p.m.

I don't expect them to be in bed, I know it," Rodriguez said. "They'll either be there or on the plane back to Pittsburgh."

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The team went to the ESPN Zone on Wednesday, and will visit an all-you can eat establishment tonight. Rodriguez noted that he had weighed his players before they departed, and demonstrated that he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

"We weighed our big guys, and I told them I didn't want them gaining five pounds," he said to laughter from the media. "I've heard stories about this place. It has a red light and a green light at each table, and as long as the green light is on they keep bringing the meat nonstop. They had some big smiles on their faces when I told them that – for some of them, it might be the biggest night of their lives. We'll take some coaches with them to flick that sucker to red and keep them under control. But with some of our coaches coming, they might flip the sign to "Out of business".

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Rodriguez spent some time with Archie Manning, who he knows from Manning's quarterback camps when Rodriguez was at Tulane. Rodriguez recruited Manning's son Eli, who ended up playing against WVU as a sub in the Music City Bowl for Ole Miss. Manning met WVU's quarterbacks on Wednesday night.

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Rodriguez also threw a bone to those from Georgia looking to discern some of WVU's gameplan for next Monday.

"We might, he said with a devlish grin, "throw a pass to the tight end as a trick play."

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