The lack of crispness leads one to beg the question if the Mountaineers would have been better off not practicing on Monday, instead taking an extra day to get back into the routine of being at school, then picking up with football matters on Tuesday. Doing so, according to the head coach, would further complicate the problem.
"A lot of coaches don't want to do a practice right after spring break because they want to get back into the flow of things," he acknowledged. "To me, the best way to get back into the flow of things is to practice, particularly with the weather. It's supposed to be nice again tomorrow."
Monday's workout was greeted with sunny skies and temperatures around 80 degrees. Though most of the practice had the head coach a little hot under the collar, it wasn't all doom and gloom on the field.
"We threw the ball well today," Rodriguez remarked. "I thought the quarterbacks played well, and the receivers made some nice plays today. We're not coming off the ball well on either side, particularly on the O-Line. I know we've got a lot of offensive linemen hurt, but that gives opportunities to some of those other guys. Those walk-ons are getting a chance to prove themselves.
"Tomorrow's going to be a different practice. It will be almost 75 percent an evaluation day. We'll have a lot of one-on-ones, two-on-twos, three-on-threes to get a lot of film of our guys competing against each other. We have a pretty good idea of what all the abilities of the guys are, but tomorrow is going to be a day that we really evaluate. More than offense against defense, it will be a lot of individual. Wednesday will be a normal practice, and then on Saturday the spring game will be really watered down almost like a scrimmage for us.
Saturday's workout is not expected to be the normal three-plus hour marathon. With a lot of injuries, particularly up front, there simply aren't many bodies to throw out onto the field for the game. Thus, the scrimmage will likely be the shortest of Rodriguez's seven springs in Morgantown. Coach Rod doesn't anticipate the game lasting more than 75 to 80 plays.
"We wanted to watch a couple of other schools practice just to see what they did with their practice tempo and their drills," he said. "We took a look at a lot of facilities because we have a chance to enhance our academic center and our locker room. We took a lot of pictures and saw a lot of places. I thought it was very productive."
"Everything is really an individual situation, just like anybody would have with their job. It's something they have to live through personally and professionally with what they feel is best for them and their family," explained Rodriguez, who was heavily courted by Alabama in December. "Obviously I've been through it, and a lot of coaches have been through it. It's a compliment more than anything else that other schools are looking at your coaches. Certainly the success that John has had in his career and recently has gotten a lot of people's attention.
"You only let it distract you or get to you as much as you want," he continued. "For most coaches, it's blown more out of proportion than it is for the individual himself. It's not an easy time, but you let it stress you as much as you want. In my situation, even though it was a trying time in some respects, it wasn't all that stressful. I was hoping that things would work out and I'd look for the reason to stay at West Virginia. It worked out great for me."