Wrapping Up Preparations

West Virginia got its first and last look at two different venues during Saturday's practice sessions.

"We had an interesting day," head coach Rich Rodriguez said as he described the day's activities. "We went in the Dome for about 45 minutes. We didn't have enough time to have a full practice, but we had a walkthrough and had some time to get used to the lighting. We got some work done, then we went over to Georgia Tech and had our normal "Thursday" practice."

Getting used to the lights is an important factor, as every indoor facility has its own characteristics.

"[The Georgia Dome] is a little bit different than the Carrier Dome, and every one is a little bit different," Rodriguez said. "We threw some deep balls and caught some punts, and I thought our guys adjusted well. It's a big building and has a lot of seats. We did the old Hoosier's thing and made sure it was 100 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide. I think a lot of our guys got a sense of the atmosphere from being there last night. It was loud, and it will be even louder Monday night. Communications will be a big key. I don't know if you can prepare for that until you play there.

"I think our guys are excited because practice is over and we don't have anything scheduled tonight," Rodriguez continued. "They have the rest of the day to relax and get dinner. We do have an 11:00 p.m. curfew tonight, which is our normal practice two nights before the game. I hope they can get some sleep with it being New Year's Eve."


Rodriguez was asked if his players took notice of the fact that LSU, a team Georgia dominated in the SEC Championship game, crushed Miami in the Peach Bowl.

"You think they were thinking about that?" Rodriguez said with a laugh. "I noticed how impressive LSU was, and I noticed a big smile on [Georgia] Coach Richt's face when I passed by him. It shows how important momentum is in a bowl game. One team gets rolling and it's hard to stem that tide. We couldn't have gotten off to a worse start in last year's bowl game and were able to battle back, but we need to get off to a good start this year. For our guys to keep their confidence and keep Georgia's fans out of the game, we need to do that."

* * *

Ernest Hunter practiced today, but Johnny Dingle did not. Dingle should be able to go, but has missed a number of reps in practice this week

* * *

Rodriguez expects to see some wrinkles early from both teams, and notes that he won't hold anything back early in the action.

"I'll try to get [wrinkles in] the first time I can," he explained. "There's no special moments [we hold anything for]. We will try to get everything we can as soon as we can.

"We will still watch today's practice film, then watch special teams film and go right up until game time. Obviously your game plan is in, but you might find one play or a wrinkle that you can add that may help you right up until game time. I've even done that on the bus to the game, and actually used them in games. You just have to make sure you don't confuse anyone with too many changes."

* * *

Rodriguez also talked about figuring out how his team might play during the game.

"Sometimes you get a feel for how your team might play by their focus and preparation, and I've felt good about that. Sometimes you get a feel for their intensity during pregame warm-ups, but that I'm not worried about at all. I've told the guys this is going to be a fun night for them to go out and enjoy."

* * *

Many fans believe that defenses are at a disadvantage in playing WVU's spread offense because they don't see it very often, but sometimes the reverse is true. Without seeing on film how a defense will line up and play against the spread, it can be difficult to devise a scheme to attack it.

"Sometimes a team will spy Pat with a defensive lineman, and sometimes they will do it with a linebacker or a defensive back," Rodriguez said. "I would expect to see a linebacker or defensive back in the pit where the linebackers and spying Pat. That's something they haven't done a whole lot of this year, but they haven't faced a QB yet that runs as much as he does. It's kind of hard to prepare for that because we haven't seen much on how they might do that."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories