Things Of That Nature - Maryland Edition

West Virginia head football coach Rich Rodriguez wasn't ready to anoint his team's blocking performance against Maryland as the best of all time, but he did see some improvements from his team's first two games as the Mountaineers rolled up 340 rushing yards in a 45-24 win over Maryland.

"In order for anybody to be able to run the ball, it takes all the guys to block well or do their part," Rodriguez said when asked about the blocking from the wide receivers, which was mildly criticized after WVU's win over Marshall. "It wasn't our best performance blocking, but it was a solid performance. We got some better blocking on the perimeter, and I think it was the best [blocking performance] so far this year. We do a stat with our receivers where we rate the percentage of times they got their man blocked, and the percentage this game was better than the last two."

With WVU averaging a whopping 7.9 yards per carry against the Terrapins, it's hard to imagine where more improvement could come from. However, Rodriguez, ever the perfectionist, believes that there are performance gains to be made. Should those come about, would a ten yards per carry average be out of the question?

RIFLE REPORTS

Rodriguez said a combination of factors combined to produce Maryland's 24-17 scoring advantage in the final three quarters. Of course, games are four quarters long, as Georgia fans are still trying to comprehend.

"We didn't execute as well as we did in the first quarter, and we had some stupid penalties," said Rodriguez, pointing to WVU's 10 flags for 95 yards. Our execution was good early, but then it faded in the last couple of quarters. And they (Maryland) have good players too. But it's nothing we can't get corrected.

"The offsides calls (WVU had three) are just a lack of discipline. There's no excuse for that," Rodriguez said as he discussed the different infractions. A couple of the personal fouls were just guys that were blocking and went out of bounds. Those aren't flagrant, but they have to be more aware of where they are. The one on Patrick White, he was doing a good job blocking the guy. Maybe he just got caught up in the moment and kept pushing him. And that happened on their sideline, and that's a situation where the flag will get thrown sometimes.

"The [penalties] that draw your attention are what I call NBA fights – pushing guys. Those have nothing to do with football. We'll address the personal fouls. We have to be smarter with that. We want them to play with emotion and enthusiasm, but we can't have that. We reminded them at halftime, we reminded them after the game, and we'll remind them in today's meeting. We just have to get it corrected, but I don't think it's anything that can't get fixed."

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Rodriquez also hinted that he wasn't totally pleased with his team's reaction after roaring out to a 28-0 lead.

"We got off to such a great start, and we got some turnovers help us get the lead," he said. "I wasn't comfortable because I knew they would come back. I knew we would have to keep playing. I was disappointed we didn't keep attacking like we did in the first quarter."

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On wide receiver Darius Reynaud, who scored two touchdowns in the contest: "Darius has probably been overlooked a little bit the last year or so. He is a playmaker who has made a lot of big plays for us. He plays well with the ball, and he's becoming a better player without the ball as well."

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As he routinely does with questions about statistics and poll votes, Rodriguez pooh-poohed the early Heisman Trophy talk around sophomore Steve Slaton.

"All that Heisman talk is just filling column space," he said of a couple of items mentioning Slaton's candidacy. "You've only played three games. Let s wait ‘til the end of year and put all the awards where they belong."

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With a couple extra days' time before the East Carolina game, WVU's players will get an extra day off. After "cleaning up from the Maryland game" on Friday, the team will have Saturday and Sunday off before checking back in to begin preparation for the Pirates on Monday.

"We will finish up Maryland today," said Rodriguez, who admitted to getting "four hours of really good sleep" following last night's win. "We will watch film, get things corrected, and then on Monday all of our concentration will be on ECU."


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