Things of That Nature- East Carolina

Less than 24 hours after his team's road win over East Carolina, Mountaineer head coach Rich Rodriguez shared his thoughts with the media.

Rodriguez saw his team improve to 4-0 on the season with a 27-10 victory over the Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Playing for the first time on the road, the sixth-year head coach was for the most part pleased with his team's play on Saturday.

"I think it was a good test on the road, in a tough environment, with a team that was playing pretty hard," he said. "It showed the coaches and players that we still have a lot of work to do. There are some glaring things that need to be corrected, and the open week is coming at a good time."

The Grant Town, W.Va. native has seen an improvement in the Pirate program over the last couple of seasons.

"I think they've gotten better the past couple of years," noted Coach Rod. "They've got their kids playing pretty hard. I think our program's gotten better, too, over the last couple of years. We had a tough game with them last year at home, and tough game with them this year on the road, but we won both of them so I'm happy."

Mountaineer starting quarterback Patrick White had both the best and worst statisical day of his young career. White's 17 completions, 24 attempts, and 216 yards passing were all career highs, but so were his three interceptions.

"The one interception that was thrown at the end of the half you can't give him that one, but the other two were bad decisions," Rodriguez said of his sophomore signal caller, who was making his ninth career start. "He made a few nice throws, a few nice runs, and for the most part I felt that he was in control out there."

As noted above, the Mountaineers will have this weekend off before hitting the road again Oct. 6 at Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference. Rodriguez has faced Mississippi State before when he was offensive coordinator for Tommy Bowden at Clemson. The Tigers and the Bulldogs met up in the 1999 Peach Bowl, a game which Mississippi State won 17-7. While every road game is a challenge, playing at an SEC stadium is a bit different then playing at Dowdy-Ficklen.

"There's no question that there's a tremendous fan interest (in SEC environments,)" he said. "We played Mississippi State in a bowl game and let them bring the cowbells in and all of that stuff. I remember it was extremely loud. I'm sure it's even harder at their place, and we'll have to do some things with hand signals and things like that."

One thing West Virginia will have to prepare for is the heat. Yesterday's temperatures hovered around 90 prior to kickoff, and Mountaineer players (including Darius Reynaud and Steve Slaton) fought cramps in the humid North Carolina night. The heat is likely to be just as bad, if not worse, when the blue and gold head to the deep south in two weeks.

"We had not practiced much in the heat, and even in August two-a-days we didn't have much time in the heat," said Rodriguez. "It's hard to simulate that. We're going to have to work a little bit more and prepare for that as best as we can."


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