Some of West Virginia's offensive limitations were due to the recurrence of the rib muscle strain of quarterback Patrick White. Following an outstanding first half, White restrained the muscled, which hampered him somewhat throughout camp. That, in turn, caused Rodriguez to eliminate many of the rollouts and run/pass options for White, as well as a number of the read options where he often keeps the ball.
On the defensive side, although cornerback Larry Williams missed the second half with a hip injury, WVU didn't change much.
"We didn't cut anything down there, because Vaughn Rivers is a veteran," Rodriguez said of the Pittsburgh native who replaced Williams. "We played o.k. in the secondary."
Rodriguez wasn't as pleased with the penalties, defensive breakdowns that yielded big plays, and several fundamental errors from his team. But overall, his mood was generally upbeat.
"There are some fundamental things we have to get corrected, and we'll be working on those a lot this week. For a first game, it was a solid performance."
WVU racked up 29 first downs, but that total hid a problem Rodriguez hopes to correct.
"That is a lot of first downs, be we thought we should have had a couple more bigger plays. Our perimeter blocking was ok, but a couple of times if we get more blocking there we could have had some longer runs."
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The injury report didn't get any better after the game. Offensive lineman Damien Crissey suffered a severe foot sprain that will keep him out for several weeks. Like defensive line counterpart Doug Slavonic, Crissey had the limb placed in a boot. Slavonic and Ridwan Malik, who both sat out the Marshall game, will likely do the same for Eastern Washington. White's and Williams' injuries were termed "not serious" and both are expected to play.
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WVU will alter its practice strategy a bit this week with an eye toward the short week before the Maryland game On Thursday, Sept. 14.
"Eastern Washington is a 1AA team, and everyone says we should win the game, but we try to show [our players] examples like the Montana State-Colorado game," said Rodriguez, referring to the upset of the day on Saturday. "They have kids that will play hard. We have to get ready for this game, but we also have to a plan that [says] we play this game and another one in five days. We have to be conscious of how we practice – we'll focus a lot on fundamentals this week.
West Virginia will also get more players into the game this Saturday, something Rodriguez commented on immediately following the Marshall rout.
"We have to play more people this weekend," the sixth-year head coach said. "We played eight wide recovers and didn't get them equal reps. The same thing happened on the defensive linemen – the rotation was not where we want it to be."
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Rodriguez had the following comments on various players/positions:
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One questioner tried to suggest that Marshall had "a lot of success", with the passing combination of Bernie Morris to Matt Morris. Rodriguez, ever quick to correct, changed the modifier.
"I think they may have had some success, but not a lot of success. "I do like Bernie Morris. And Matt Morris did a great job catching that one a touchdown. He made the play to go up and get the ball. You have to give him credit for that."