Things Of That Nature -MU

West Virginia head coach Rich thought it was a good, but not great, performance as his team throttled Marshall 42-10 in the opening game of the 2006 season. Rodriguez revealed that the Mountaineers were very basic on both sides of the football and didn't show much as they crushed the Herd.

"We were pretty basic on offense and defense," Rodriguez said on Sunday as he recapped West Virginia's routine win. "We didn't do a whole lot of things on either side, just kept it base and tried not give up a big play. I liked our effort, and I thought our guys played hard for the most part. They were trying to do some of the things [we do] and execute our schemes. And we had some outstanding individual performances."

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:

  • "I thought our backs played very well. Steve Slaton made good reads and had extra effort runs."

  • "Kevin McLee made a few mistakes but he has such great effort and desire to make a play. He made some big plays when it didn't look like anyone else was making any."

  • Quinton Andrews played pretty well for his first game. He might have been a little nervous, being in his first game, but that's to be expected. I think as the game went on he got more comfortable."

  • "The offensive line was ok. It was a solid performance, but there were a lot of things to get corrected. Dan Mozes and Ryan Stanchek played pretty well, especially with it being his first time at the position. Jake Figner did well for his first start, and Sheffey was solid, but there were some things he could do better. And Jake Figner did well for his first start."

  • "We didn't see a big problem at free safety because Andrews was so solid. I thought we missed Mike Lorello some, because sometimes we didn't get home in the blitz game, and that was something he was very good at. Eric Wicks didn't have the type of game we expect from him, but I am confident he will play better."

    * * *

    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."

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