"We were pleased with him," Rodriguez noted after evaluating film of the game. "He's still a young guy, but he did well. He also gives us the flexibility to play David Upchurch at end.
"David is our best lineman, whether he plays at defensive end or at nose. If we can get three athletic guys in there, we can get more pressure up front. Ernest can be one of those guys. Upchurch made a few more plays at end, and they didn't run as much in the second half."
Overall, WVU played better, but like any good coach, Rodriguez can always find areas for improvement.
"It wasn't a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. We had a few mistakes and a some critical errors. I wasn't pleased with the drops and putting the ball on the ground.
"I do think our guys played really hard. If you can do that, you can overcome some mistakes."
The injury situation could have been worse. Observant Mountaineer fans noticed quarterback Rasheed Marshall sprint for the locker room in the first quarter due to a disloated pinky finger on his throwing hand.
"Rasheed played with it for four plays. (WVU trainer) Dave Kerns popped it back in, and by Tuesday or Wednesday it should be ok."
Defensive lineman Tim Love is better and it is hoped he can be back by the middle of the week. Love did not dress for ECU due to back spasms.
Wide receiver A. J. Nastasi may be cleared for holding duties, but he probably won't be able to play for another two weeks.
Long snapper Scott Fleming did not suffer a concussion as originally feared. Fleming was on the receiving end of a big hit on an ECU punt return in the second quarter. He returned for a couple of snaps late in the ECU game.
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The Mountaineers lined up Scott Gyorko as a pass defender in third and long situations, and moved outside backer James Davis up to the line to provide additional pass rushing pressure.
"Gyorko has a feel for droping back in zones, and for covering backs," Rodriguez said. "We want to get our best guys on the field in each situation, and Scotty can help us there."
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Rodriguez continued to be bothered by the rash of unsportsmanlike conduct and personal fouls called on his team.
"The penalties really disturb us, but they weren't so much late hits. We're not sure where some of the infractions were, to be honest. On one play, our guy pulled his arm back, and I think the official saw the end of the play and thought our guy was throwing an elbow. On another one, two guys were locked up and they just called a penalty on our guy."
"But, we've got to get that corrected. We've had some guys get some bullcrap penalties that we've got to cut out."
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WVU managed to get some pressure on ECU quarterback Paul Troth, but Rodriguez was still not pleased with the end result.
"We got a few hits, but we're still not getting enough sacks. If we can do a little better job on getting off blocks and work on our release techniques, we'll probably get some more sacks. Pressure is ok, but getting sacks really helps you."
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Rodriguez also continues to try to work his young receivers, especially J. T. Perry and Travis Garvin, into the lineup.
"J. T. is still learning the offense. We tried to throw him in there on the plays that he knows. He did make a couple of nice catches. He's a physical guy, and he should be able to help us.
"Garvin is kind of the same. He's probably going to play a little bit more each game. We'd like for him to learn more than one position. He knows one pretty well right now. He plays the same position as Phil Braxton, so we may start moving Braxton some other places to get Henderson, Garvin and Perry on the field at the same time."
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As has been the case since his transfer last year, Rodriguez downplays the "McBrien faceoff" that some media members have been trying to manufacture. While it may be an easy "story" to cover, Rodriguez rightly insists that it isn[t a story at all.
"We didn't want him to leave, but he made that decision," Rodriguez said of McBrien. It's happened a lot of places. He wanted to go somehwere else, and he transferred to a good program that's closer to his home. It's not West Virgina against Scott McBrien. It's WV against Maryland."
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Rodriguez has long been a spread offense proponent, so it was obviously somewhat shocking to him to be at the controls of such a ground juggernaut.
"I don't think I have ever won a game where we had 33 yards passing -- but I've never had a game over 500 yards rushing either. We didn't have to throw a single pass. I didn't realize how many yards we had until they ran the scorebaord tribute for Avon.