Rod Report - Day XII

Backup center Mike Dent moved to guard for this morning's practice, a transition that further jostles an offensive line that has already seen two other players move to other positions.

It's just the latest in a series of switches to get players comfortable at multiple slots because of the rash of injuries. Left guard Greg Isdaner did not practice this morning. The trainers must again look at his sprained knee this afternoon before deciding on allowing him to practice this afternoon.

Jeremy Sheffey missed the morning shorts-and-shirts session with a concussion, and Dent took his place on the right side of the first line. Backup bandit safety Ridwan Malik suffered a hip sprain and is out one to two weeks, meaning staring spur John Holmes and reserve bandit Akeem Jackson are taking second-team snaps there. Holmes is also taking first-team reps with at the spur, when Eric Wicks is at bandit. Frosh Dwight Fluker-Berry also began his WVU career at bandit.

There are actually 18 players listed in red (no contact) or green (contact) jerseys. It is unknown how many will be able to play this afternoon. The list: Jet Best (out, shoulder), Ryan Dawson (out) Isdaner (doubtful), Ridwan Malik (out), Brandon Myles (practice-time decision, knee), Darius Reynaud (out, ankle), Sheffey (out). In green are Darren Brownlee, Jeremy Bruce, Ed Collington, Mortty Ivy, John Maddox, Dorrell Jalloh and Pat McAfee, among others.

"We'll go out in full pads, probably, but we may go in shells," head coach Rich Rodriguez said of WVU's final two-a-day practice. "We need a hard practice. I got about 30 reasons right here (why WVU might not practice in full gear). There are even more guys in green and red now, and that is not helping other guys progress. And it certainly was not because of the hitting yesterday, I can promise you that. I didn't think the defense hit anybody; we didn't get hurt because of getting hit. It is a shame. We are running out of spaces (on the injury list). I don't know if it is normal. It is too depressing to go and look up the past."

Ryan Stanchek and Jake Figner are the starting tackles, of now, with Damien Crissey and Frank Carduff on the second unit. Dan Moses is at center, with Dent at right guard and a hodgepodge of players on the left side. Part of the reason for that has been the solid play of John Bradshaw, who could play on the left. But, Rodriguez said, it was difficult to take much out of Wednesday's scrimmage.

"It is hard to tell because there wasn't anybody on defense," Rodriguez said. "I can't pick one guy out yesterday that actually played defense. It looked like the defensive guys were playing offense. Antonio (Lewis, a corner) is doing ok and Larry (Williams), he has been all right. He has not done anything spectacular. Vaughn Rivers has been the only backup who has been really solid. Kent Richardson and Boogie Allen are battling for the other backup job. There might be another guy emerge. We'd like to be set at corner. We'd like to have four, and we don't have four. It is sometimes hard to judge because we don't have any wide receivers. We only had four or five wide receivers in all three groups that were totally healthy. But we have some talent back there, and we have a couple weeks to get them ready."

Despite that, the tailback depth is even worse, and so West Virginia has moved receiver Eddie Davis to tailback. He is getting reps over there, but has just started and so is not at all ready to play. Of now, the Mountaineers have Steve Slaton, Jason Colson, Owen Schmitt and Max Anderson all repping at tailback, with the latter two also playing fullback. Anderson now, more than likely, will not redshirt.

"It ought to be exciting for recruits," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully we can sign some that can help us."

The free safety battle is also still being decided. Senior Ham Jones has played fairly well, and freshman Quinton Andrews has apparently played like what he is. Jones, the sixth-year head coach noted, still does not have much of an advantage in experience because he has not played, sitting behind Jahmile Addae.

"Everyone wanted to hand it to Andrews, but Quinton has not made a play for us," Rodriguez said. "I am not going to anoint it. I want to see them (Ham Jones and Andrews) play. You have to make a play."

Rodriguez –

On the NCAA doing way with many two-a-days: "I would like to think that they would trust the coaches to do what is best for the team," Rodriguez said. "You have the option to go 2-1-2, which most would probably do anyway, and if coaches think they should have back-to-back doubles, they should be able to. Why is the NCAA changing it? IO just got the memo that there would be a subdivision, no I-A and AA. There is going to be a bowl subdivision and a championship subdivision. Is that politically correct or something? It is not politically correct to be I-A and I-AA or something? Who is getting their feelings hurt?"

On how WVU will be affected by the NCAA lowering the kicking tee from two inches to one inch: "Well, whenever McAfee gets out of green we will probably figure that out. As of now he has not even practiced much."

On the injured Collington and Best: "They are losing ground. They are certainly not ready to play, and until they get on the field and get ready to play, they won't play. As much as we run the tailbacks, the recruits should take notice."

On WVU being on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the jinx: "I don't really believe in that. As long as they work hard and keep their head about it, that's good. That's fine for their families, too. You'd like to get to the point where it is not news, where you just say ‘Oh, that's nice. Who is on it this year?'."

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