Rod Report - Day VI

West Virginia completed its afternoon practice session in shorts. Then came the rains – again.

Just as head coach Rich Rodriguez completed his media interview at 4:45 p.m., a major storm began to move through Morgantown. The initial plan was to practice again this evening, but a major rainstorm that hit Mountaineer Field full force at 5 p.m. had not moved through by 5:50 p.m. and instead turned to a steady, soaking rain. The coaches might wait to practice until the rain has subsided rather than spend a third consecutive workout session in the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. Tonight's practice is in full pads, though the Mountaineers, who practiced for 80 minutes in the afternoon, must be given three hours rest between practices per NCAA rules.

Rodriguez said the team would likely be under the lights tonight, though neighbors had complained about practices that were held later in the night. The lacrosse team had practiced at 10-11 p.m. for years, however, and there were few complaints before.

"They complained the other day when we played some music in pre-practice," Rodriguez said. "But I got news for them. We are going to keep playing it. We try to create some chaos. Sometimes it's to simulate pre-game. Other times it is to create chaos to have our guys focus more on what they are doing. It's hard to simulate that in practice. You need noise, and the best way to do that is to play something over the loudspeakers."

For the second session in full pads the staff will be looking for more depth at offense line. Rodriguez said he thinks he has one solid starting line, but needs added numbers, especially at center. Mike Dent is a first-year starter backed by Eric Jobe. WVU would like to have eight: Five starters and two players that could play guard and tackle and a reserve center. Rodriguez said he felt confident that he could find the guards and tackles, but was not as sure about the center. The Mountaineers have moved five players in and out of the area in searching for the backup. The snaps were poor in the first two practices, but have improved. They will be further tested tonight when plays are ran live.

"I think they had great summers," Rodriguez said of the line. "Mike Dent has been around and knows what we want. He is a really good athlete. I have been really pleased with (right guard Eric) Rodemoyer. He is a sharp guy, very intelligent and tough. I think we will be ok, but we have to develop more depth. I think Derek Hayes can play multiple positions. And I think Selvish Capers may be in the mix at tackle. That was a good move for us, moving him from tight end from there. We have to find a few others."

The backup tailback slot will also get a solid look from the staff tonight and through the first scrimmage Saturday. Rodriguez said Noel Devine and Jock Sanders – who started working more at tailback within the last two days after starting the camp at slot receiver – would push the veterans. There is no timetable for finding a backup and it is, indeed, day to day. Rodriguez said Devine was "like a lot of great backs. He can make somebody miss and get through a small space. He is not a big guy, but is a pretty explosive runner. Both (Devine and Sanders) are little guys, but pretty explosive. They are willing to go in there and mix it up."

Rodriguez has also been impressed with freshman receiver Brandon Hogan. The Manassas, Va. native played in a spread offense at Osbourne High and that has allowed him to understand the plays and concepts as quickly as any freshman under Rodriguez. He can already play two slot positions.

"We might even be able to play him at quarterback and he would understand some," Rodriguez said. "He just understands football. I have been very impressed with him. Will Johnson looks like to us that he can be a guy that challenges for time early. He is a big physical guy. He will make mistakes and we'll have to go in there and coach him up. But it doesn't look like to me he will be redshirted. He is going to play."

Rodriguez mentioned Archie Simms and Anthony Leonard as players who will add depth to the linebacking corps. Freshman JT Thomas will play and likely start.

Note: Darius Reynaud was out of the first practice today because of class. He will be at the evening session. Marc Magro appears to be on the back end of having mono and should return sometime next week. The trainers have said that to be passed between players, it "has to be more than sweat on sweat," Rodriguez said. "You do worry about that, though."


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