Rod Report - Day XIV

Following Wednesday's workout, head coach Rich Rodriguez was less than pleased with the final practice before Saturday's Gold-Blue game.

Tuesday's practice – conducted under sunny skies and in 80 degree temperatures – was solid and productive. The return of cold weather on Wednesday brought inconsistent play with it, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

"Our defense could walk off the field and it would take us more than ten plays to score," head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "That's what I think about our offense. It may take more than that. We may not be able to score in ten plays to score against air. We can't block, we can't throw, we can't catch, we can't run. Other than that, it's alright.

"I'm not sure the defense is any better," he continued. "Right now we're just not a very good football team. I hope we can get better in one practice, which I doubt we can. They better have a pretty good summer because if they don't we're not going to win any games."

So, needless to say, the head coach was not in the best of moods following the 14th practice of the spring. Saturday's Gold-Blue game will be the final workout of spring ball.

"The execution wasn't good," he said. "I didn't think the intensity was any good on offense. I don't know if I've got any wide receivers that are ready. I don't know if I've got any running backs. I don't know if I have five linemen. How much time do you have?

As upset as he was following Wednesday's workout, Rodriguez is still optimistic that his players will be ready to go by the time fall camp rolls around in August.

"We've got a good group of guys," Rodriguez noted. "I think they'll work hard this summer. If they don't, we'll get killed. If they do, then we'll be alright."

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One particular area of concern on offense is the wide receiver position. The team must replace departed senior Brandon Myles, who emerged as a playmaker last season. One player who may have that chance is 6'8" Wes Lyons. The Pittsburgh-area native played a handful of snaps each game last season, and has continued his growth as a player this spring.

"Everybody wanted us to throw the ball to him last year," Rodriguez said. "Last time I checked the rules if we (threw the ball to Lyons) it would have been incomplete because he was standing next to me on the sidelines half the time, more than half. Wes has got some talent. But he's got to take the next step. Just because you're tall doesn't mean you're ready. He's got to work harder to get ready. Hopefully he'll work hard in the summer."

Rodriguez also believes that converted quarterback Nate Sowers has a chance to produce at his new position.

"Nate's done a good job over there," he said of the former Martinsburg Bulldog. "We're going to keep him over there, because we want him to compete for one of those spots."

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On a sad note, the sports world learned on Wednesday that legendary Grambling head coach Eddie Robinson passed away. During his meeting with reporters, Rodriguez commented on the influence of Coach Robinson on college football and coaching.

"The success he had, and the respect he has in our profession is unparalleled," said Rodriguez. "I had a chance to meet him a couple of times. Not only is he an outstanding coach, but he's a wonderful person.

"If you're in college football or you're in football period, you know what he's meant to the game."

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Saturday's Gold-Blue game will be a shell of the normal event. Cold weather will prevent the scrimmage from being very long, not to mention productive.

"It will be a short scrimmage," said the head coach. "The colder it is, the shorter the scrimmage. If it's snowing, we won't be coming out after halftime."

Unlike he has the past couple of years, Rodriguez will not be going into the stands to let fans call plays.

"I wasn't going to do that anyways because we have three new coaches and so many young guys that we've gotta teach. I enjoyed doing that, but this year's going to be pretty quick.

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