Open And Shut

West Virginia's open weeks, or lack thereof, are sore spots for Mountaineer head coach Rich Rodriguez. Seven of the 12 teams WVU faces have off-weeks before playing the Mountaineers.

Of those, West Virginia has a matching off-week, like this week's open date before East Carolina, just three times.

"It's not so bad if you have an off-week, too, because then it kind of evens out," Rodriguez said. "But that doesn't happen with us."

West Virginia's last two off-weeks, against Virginia Tech and arch-rival Pittsburgh, are because of 10-day layoffs around Thanksgiving. Tech and Pittsburgh also have 10 days between the games.

"It seems like we always get stuck like this," Rodriguez said. "Heck, it was worse last year."

East Carolina, which comes to Mountaineer Field Sept. 28, is off this week.

Along with the Pirates and the last two games, Cincinnati, Maryland, Rutgers and Miami have open dates. The latter four are off when WVU plays.

"Everybody plays us differently anyway (because of the spread offense)," Rodriguez said. "Now it's worse. With Cincinnati, we expected them to run a spread offense, and they come out with two tight-ends. We had to adjust, and they got us on the first few drives. It just gives the team that is off a major advantage."

West Virginia must also play seven straight games after this week. Two of those -- Oct. 5 against Maryland and Oct. 26 versus Miami -- are against defending conference champions.

"I'd actually like to play the five non-conference games straight, then have an off-week before going into the Big East," Rodriguez said. The Mountaineers have no open dates during the Big East schedule, which starts Oct. 12 at Rutgers.

"The biggest thing is it gives you a chance to get healthy," Rodriguez said. "But we are healthy right now, and though we have some things we can work on, I would rather keep playing."

West Virginia was 1-1 last season following off-weeks and is 9-3 over the last five years.

"Heck, some teams are playing 12 in a row," Rodriguez said, "so I guess I can't complain too much."

WVU's schedule is also bottom-heavy. Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Pitt, the Big East's preseason top four teams, are played in four of the last five weeks.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories