Rod Report - Day X

West Virginia held a 90-minute practice in shorts, shirts and helmets this morning, then returned to the field for a full-contact session this afternoon.

Today was the second-to-last two-a-day held prior to the Mountaineers' final scrimmage at noon on Aug. 19. The last two-a-day will be on Thursday. Head coach Rich Rodriguez said WVU's early session was very light and "not very demanding," but that the team did add more to its schemes. Linebacker Reed Williams, tight end Brad Palmer, safety Eric Wicks and receiver Jeremy Bruce were held out of today's session, but are expected back tomorrow. WVU has a lot of little nicks, but no major injuries.

Offensive lineman Greg Isdaner, wideout Dorrell Jollah, tailback Jetavious Best and frosh receiver John Maddox also still did not practice. Isdaner's MRI is expected back tomorrow, and right now Eric Rodemoyer is the backup left guard behind John Bradshaw, who can play either side. West Virginia is particularly thin at tailback, where it lost two players over the summer and has three more with injuries. Ed Collington is practicing with a sore ankle and Steve Slaton has had general muscle soreness, all expected in the midst of fall camp. Add in Best's shoulder injury (AC sprain) sustained in the early part of Monday's practice and the Mountaineers are often forced to skip running reps.

"Our tailback situation has hampered us a little bit," Rodriguez said. "We are going to address that. We might have nine tailbacks. You think I am lying, but coach (Herb) Hand (the recruiting coordinator) and coach (Calvin) Magee (the offensive coordinator and running backs coach), they're loading up on tailbacks. For us, we play two at a time, so that means if you are repping first and second team you have to have four. Those guys get banged around a bit, so we will be recruiting some, and all will have a shot."

West Virginia added some wrinkles in the spring, and it has its base offense in now. It will finish any late additions by Saturday, when the entire offensive package will be complete. It went 10 plays in a brief live scrimmage today, and Rodriguez noted that reserve fullback Max Anderson ran about nine of the 10 plays because of the depth problems.

"He got a little sore there because the guys up front, it is tough on them," Rodriguez said. "I don't know if there are any volunteers to run behind rookie linemen. But of all the true freshmen right now, Max may have the best shot to play. We thought he had a chance (when they saw him on tape), but you never know, particularly at the fullback position. It's physical and you go from blocking 170-pound kids in high school to blocking 230-pound linebackers in college. We thought he was a tough guy. We don't want to say he has been a pleasant surprise, but mentally he has picked things up very quickly. Coach Magee is excited about him. He is proving himself everyday.

"And, defensively, J.T. Thomas continues to make plays everyday in practice. Some of it is against the younger group, and it is a little easier to make plays against the rookies than it is the veterans, but we really like what we see out of him as a true freshman."

West Virginia will not make any decisions on redshirting either player until Saturday, when it holds its final fall camp scrimmage. The Mountaineers also have not pared down the playbook, calling specific plays for quarterback Patrick White, who returned to full action today. The coaching staff had the same playbook for injured quarterback Adam Bednarik and White last year, and it will continue to have the same plays in its arsenal this season regardless of who is the quarterback.

"All three of the guys now are very similar in that they are athletic," Rodriguez said of White, Jarrett Brown and Nate Sowers. "They both can run, and everybody knows Pat can run. When we think a situation might be good for a running quarterback, it really applies to all three."

West Virginia has just five practices remaining in fall camp, and will then settle into its school practice regiment for one week before its regular game-week schedule begins Aug. 28 in preparation for the Sept. 2 opener against Marshall. WVU resumes classes Aug. 21.

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