Rodriguez Notebook- UConn

While Saturday's 41-17 win over Syracuse is still fresh on the minds of Mountaineer fans, the team itself is turning its focus to Friday night's contest at Connecticut.

West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez addressed a variety of topics during his weekly spot on the Big East coaches conference call. The Conference announced their individual award winners for the week, and Mountaineer quarterback Patrick White was honored as Offensive Player of the Week for his career day against Syracuse. The Daphne, Ala. native accumulated 346 total yards, including 247 yards rushing. His exploits on the ground were good enough to top his own conference record for single game rushing yards by a quarterback. White set the old mark, 220 yards, in last season's Thanksgiving night blowout against Pitt.

"Pat White ran pretty well," Rodriguez said in what some may consider the understatement of the season. "He ran physical and fast, and the guys up front did a great job opening the holes and getting a hat on a hat."

The Mountaineers will now prepare for a Connecticut team that has had some trouble stopping the run in 2006. That may sound like music to the 'Eers, but Rodriguez believes it will be a stiff challenge.

"Navy and Rhode Island (two of Connecticut's early oponnents) are pure option schemes, which is a lot different than what we do," Rodriguez noted. "(The Huskies) did a great job defending us last year, just looking at the film earlier. We had great field position the first half and got a couple of turnovers. That was a big part of our success."

The Mountaineer mentor has great respect for his counterparts at Connecticut.

"They had a pretty good plan against other teams," he said. "I'm very impressed with Randy Edsall and their coaching staff. They've done a great job, and it's a pretty tough place to play. I remember from going up there two years ago."

Other notes and quotes from Rodriguez:

On whether or not he likes the Heisman attention for Steve Slaton and/or Patrick White: "We don't really talk about it, and I hope their focus is on getting better each day. I never hear them talk about it, but I don't know what they say when they're off-campus. I wouldn't think they thought too much about it. If it happens at the end of the year that's great for them and their families, but I think they're interested each day in just getting better and helping us get better.

"Any individual accolades are good, as long as it doesn't change the way they act. I think we know them well enough to know that won't happen. I just don't believe that you have to market people for those awards. With college football the way it is now, they're going to be seen plenty."

On the Big East Conference's return to prominence: "I think the three programs that came into the league have all done a great job. There's a commitment from all eight schools' administrations as far as facilities, and coaching staffs, to Division I football. Everybody (in the conference) has got good facilities or new facilities. The programs keep getting better and better, and (the conference) is going to keep getting better I believe.

"The commitment's there from the administration, the staffs are in place and coaches aren't leaving for the most part. That's a big part of building a successful program."

On White's progression as a quarterback: "I think it's natural for a quarterback to progress and understand not only what we're doing but what the defense is doing. Our quarterbacks are like point guards in basketball, where they have to be able to shoot the three. We run a lot, but our quarterback has to be able to distribute the ball too."

On whether he makes it a point to address situations like the Miami/Florida International brawl: "We address it in the first meeting we have with the team back in August about the conduct and how you're supposed to behave. You have to make sure (the players) understand how to act both on and off the field, but we don't address it much. It's probably more of a point with the younger guys. We feel that (personal conduct) is something they have a pretty good handle on. Hopefully they understand the way you're supposed to act." will have comments from Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall later in the week.

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