Rodriguez and Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen took over at their respective alma maters in 2001, and beginning with their first meeting, the rivalry has taken on a new life. Maryland won that first meeting in 2001, 32-20. After that, the Terrapins took Rodriguez and company out to the woodshed over the next three times the teams met with a trio of ugly beatings. That included a Gator Bowl matchup at the end of the 2003 season, a game which the Terps won 41-7.
"We felt really disappointed the first few times we played them. Even though they clearly outplayed us, we weren't giving them our best shot," Rodriguez said. "At least the last couple of years we've been able to do that. The history of the series has been very close, and it certainly will be Thursday night."
He's right about the series being close. With Mountaineer wins in 2004 and 2005, the series record now stands at 21-21-2. That's about as even as you can get.
The head coach isn't looking at the bigger picture this week, though, as he has enough on his plate getting ready for the current Terrapins.
"To be honest with you the total series number isn't that relevant because the only thing I worry about is this year."
Friedgen's teams have typically been most successful when they get great play from the quarterback position. Rodriguez believes that senior Sam Hollenbach is a big reason for Maryland's early success in 2006.
"I've really been impressed with him this year. He made some nice plays against us last year," Rodriguez said. Hollenbach was 20-31 for 291 yards and a pair of touchdowns in last year's 31-19 WVU victory. "They've always had great success when their quarterbacks played well, and he's won two games for them this year."
Other quotes from Rodriguez today:
Rodriguez was then asked how often he texted potential recruits. "I'm probably doing it 2-3 times a week, probably 12-15 kids each time. It does keep you busy," he said, noting that the assistant coaches do it more frequently. Coach Rod noted that he'd like to see legislation enacted to curb the amount of text messaging that is being done.
Stay tuned to BlueGoldNews.com this week for more pre-game coverage for Thursday night!