Rod Report I

It was "a typical first practice" according to WVU head football coach Rich Rodriguez as he assessed the opening of his team's 2007 camp, but some of his players probably didn't share that feeling.

With temperatures approaching triple digits, and humidity also contributing to the heat index, a handful of players suffered cramps and other symptoms of performing in the steamy conditions. An end-of-practice conditioning test also left several players in less than optimal shape, Rodriguez reported.

"We had some guys cramping up, but I don't know whether that was because they weren't drinking enough fluids or because they aren't quite in shape. Generally it was probably because we were out there for two hours practicing and then we did a conditioning test at the end, and some of them are just zapped. But some of them aren't in the shape they need to be either. Those guys that aren't in shape will have to get in shape, or they won't play."

Coming into it, I was probably a bit to optimistic, thinking all 105 players were in great shape and no one would come out and that everybody would make all the test, but that ain't going to happen," he said with disgust. "Some of the guys are probably still out there laying on the turf, and some of them probably got a closer look at it than others."

Overall, the seventh year head coach put the practice in the average category.

"I thought it was an o.k. practice. I saw some good and saw some bad. I told the team we have a long way to go before we play a game, but probably everybody else does too. I'm not overly pleased or displeased. Probably somewhere right in the middle."

Rodriguez noted that it was much to early to discern the chances for any of the newcomers to earn playing time, but did single out one position as having a chance to make an impact.

"I'll tell you in about three weeks if any of those guys will play. Steve Slaton was probably the most talented freshman we ever had, and what did he start, the fifth game? Those guys are all swimming now. They think we are talking Japanese, and we are just talking elementary stuff. We try to keep it simple to see if any of them can help us.

"But there are some talented guys. The freshman class is one of the most athletic we've signed. How that translates, and how they will be able to help us, [we don't know]. We try to make it simple, but one day one, ain't none of them ready. But I was encouraged by a couple of the new guys we have at wide receiver. There's no question in my mind that once they learn what they are doing, they won't just give us depth, they will give us quality playing time. I am anxious to see over the next couple of weeks whether any of those freshmen or Alric Arnett get into the rotation. I think they will."


Pat White tweaked his back, and took fewer reps than usual, but the quarterback did not deem the injury a serious one.

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WVU is still waiting on final NCAA Clearinghouse approval for Brandon Hogan, who practiced with the team. Absent was Morgantown lineman Junius Lewis, who could end up grayshirting this fall.

"Any of the guys that are in camp now, if they are not eligible, it would be a surprise to us," Rodriguez opined.

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Boogie Allen could end up playing more than one safety position, as could Ryan Mundy. There could be a great deal of moving around at these three positions during camp.

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When asked about offensive changes, Rodriguez tweaked the numerous fans who plead with him through the mail to run the wishbone, due to the depth the Mountaineers enjoy.

"You didn't hear? So many people send me letters about running the wishbone that I said the hell with it, I'm going to do it," he said with tongue firmly in cheek. "The biggest thing we have to do is not get away from what we do well," he noted in a return to reality. "What our quarterbacks do well, what our backs and receivers do well; we want to put our guys in the position to make plays. And the guys that can make plays, we have to make sure we get the ball to them. There won't be a whole lot of changes, but there will be a few things we try to experiment with."

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