Rod Report - Day II

Earlier this week, head coach Rich Rodriguez stated that a solid rain shower should help to break in the rubber pellets of the new playing surface at Mountaineer Field. On Sunday, those hopes were answered...and then some.

"I want it to rain at night when we're not practicing," cracked West Virginia's seventh-year head coach. "I want it to be 90 and hot (during practice.)"

With the wet weather dominating the day's events, Rodriguez noted that not a lot could be taken from the practice field on Sunday.

"You couldn't tell much because it rained so hard," he said. "It's a good thing we practiced the wet ball thing today. It rained hard for three-fourths of practice, and then eased up at the end.

"We probably looked better than yesterday at some points," he continued. "It was hard to throw and catch today because the ball was so wet. The mental mistakes were probably a little bit better today for the most part."

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While we're on the acquatic theme, Rodriguez again spoke highly of some of those players still relatively wet behind the ears.

"I think I've got a handful of young guys that can help us as rookies at the skill positions," Rodriguez said again on Sunday.

One spot in particular where first-year players could see action is on special teams, particularly the return game.

"You don't have to learn as much returning a kick," Rod said. "There are a handful like Devine, Jock Sanders, and Brandon Hogan who fit that mold of running backs and slot receivers that may be able to help some."

Another spot where newcomers could see early playing time is at wide receiver.

"There are some new receivers who could help us out or give us some depth too," he acknowledged. "Will Johnson, C.J. Matthews and Arlic Arnett are going to have a chance to compete. We'll see how it shakes out the next couple of weeks.

"We've got to wait until we play the games," he continued. "This is a big class of freshman, and I think one of the most athletic classes we've had. Now, will that translate to being good football players? After you go through about a week and a half in pads we'll find out, I think."

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After spending the past two days in shorts and shirts, the Mountaineers will put on shoulder pads for the first time tomorrow. Later in the week, full pads will come out.

The first two-a-day is slated for Thursday.

"We've got classes on Thursday," Rodriguez said with a hint of agitation in his voice. "We're going to get two (practices in), even if we have to go real early.

"Camp isn't has hard as it used to be," Rodriguez said. "We only have four days of two-a-days. It's almost like a vacation for these guys."

* * *

On the injury front, sophomore receiver Wes Lyons was in a green jersey nursing a sore right knee. Linebacker Ovid Goulbourne was also in green due to a slight hamstring injury. Neither player is expected to miss extended time.

From the strange but true file, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Chris Neild was held out of practice with a foot issue stemming from a pair of shoes that were too tight.

"His shoes were too tight for his big feet, so he's got bruises," said Rodriguez, who couldn't help but crack a smile at the situation. "I guess we've got to call Nike and get a bigger, wider shoe for his big fat feet."

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Sunday's practice was open to the media for roughly one hour. There will not be another open practice until Monday, August 13.


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