Rod Report - Day Four

Throughout the first few practices of fall camp, head coach Rich Rodriguez has made a concious effort to get his younger quarterbacks plenty of reps. On Tuesday, the redshirt freshman duo of Nate Sowers and Jarrett Brown got plenty of reps, though probably not for the reason Coach Rod would have liked.

The freshmen quarterbacks got a lot of reps because Pat White strained a little muscle in his side. He did some things in practice, but there are some things he didn't do," said Rodriguez in his daily meeting with media following practice. "That gave Nate and Jarrett a lot of reps which was good, because they need them."

Rodriguez didn't seem overly concerned with the health of his starting quarterback, and expects White to be back on the field for tomorrow's practice.

"He was just making a move running downfield and just twisted a little bit. You or I could probably do it walking down the street," he said. "Pat was running full speed. Like I said, it's nothing major. It was more of a precaution today."

Overall the sixth year head coached seemed relatively pleased with today's practice.

"It was a little better than yesterday. We had more guys that finished practice. It went a little bit slower it seemed. Our tempo wasn't as good, and of course the weather was a lot cooler today."

It's hard for the head coach to tell a lot about his team from these first few practice. Yesterday and today the team was in shells (shoulder pads and shorts). Tomorrow he expects to see the intensity pick up as the Mountaineers will put on full pads for the first time this camp.

"We need to get in pads because there are so many things that you can't do until you're in full gear. Obviously the intensity should be picked up a little bit. I hope our guys are anxious to get into pads as well," he said. "We've been playing a little love tap in the last few practices, and it's time to hit tomorrow. There will be probably 15 or 20 minutes tomorrow that will be full live, just to let them get after it a bit."

As mentioned above, the absence of White allowed both Brown and Sowers to get plenty of reps with the starters. The backup quarterback position is one of the biggest battles going on in fall camp. Rodriguez sees both pluses and minuses in his young signal callers.

"I think they're both really good athletes, and I think they can do all the things we ask our quarterbacks to do both with running and throwing," noted the former Glenville State head coach. "The minus obviously is experience. I think they're more comfortable with what they're doing, but every day going against our defense they see something different."

His biggest reservation is the fact that he only has three quarterbacks in camp. Rodriguez likened it to a situation the Mountaineers faced during the 2003 season.

"It's similar to three years ago when we had Rasheed, Charles Hales, and I think Adam Bednarik was a true freshman," he reminisced. "Rasheed got hurt, and Charles Hales was there but if something would have happened to him then the first guy off the bus was taking snaps. That was really scary. At least we have three, and I think we'll have three that are ready to go."

Still, the head coach doesn't see a situation where all three of his signal callers go down.

"If you got three quarterbacks hurt then your luck is so bad…don't go out under the clouds with the threat of lightning because it's going to happen," he quipped.

One of the other position battles is at cornerback. While veterans Larry Williams and Antonio Lewis are firmly entrenched as the starters at field and boundary corners, respectively, the coaches are looking for other corners to contribute in other defensive packages.

"Vaughn Rivers is playing well so far, and he's the third corner behind Larry and Antonio," Rodriguez said of the junior from Pittsburgh. "Kent Richardson has played ok so far, and he's the guy that we want to see in pads to see if he'll be physical. If he does, then he'll be the fourth guy."

With the full pads coming out tomorrow, Rodriguez wants to see both the intensity and the weather pick up.

"I think that the guys up front are in pretty good shape, but they haven't gotten taxed much. I'm waiting to see one day of two-a-days where it's really hot and they have to grind through two practices. Then I can really judge where they are conditioning-wise. I'm hoping (the hot weather) comes soon because we have our first two-a-day on Thursday."

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