Rod Report - Day VII

Rich Rodriguez held a moving day Friday, sliding one player each from offense to defense and defense to offense.

The coaching staff moved redshirt freshman Eric Jobe, who was competing for the backup center spot, to nose guard. That elevates freshman Gino Gradkowski to the second slot, though other options are being explored there as well as position coach Greg Frey looks to have at least three solid backups, two players who can play guard and tackle and one dependable reserve center.

"He showed some good pop," Rodriguez said of Jobe's practice. "He wasn't progressing as fast as we would have liked at center. We're not going to give up on him, though. If he is not going to be on the rotation defensively or play a little bit we will move him back. We won't know for another week or so."

True freshman defensive back Kendall Washington, who was going to be redshirted on defense, is now playing wide receiver. Numerous wideouts have been injured and missed time in camp, especially Wes Lyons, whose hamstring has been continually aggravated. Junior college transfer Alric Arnett also did not practice today with an ankle sprain, and the impending transfer of junior Jeremy Bruce to Akron has left the depth lacking, even with the tailbacks mixing in at the slot positions. Washington, a 6-4, 195-pound native of Canton, Ohio, will add to the numbers there. Position moves are not uncommon in camp, and with one week completed and one left, the timing was right to attempt any moves.

"It's not that much moving," Rodriguez said. "We have 105 players and we moved two. We're trying to find two at each position that we think we can win with. D-line is a concern because of the injuries more than anything else. Heck, (Keilen) Dykes would be our best nose guard, but he is also our best tackle. You gotta have bodies to play with. You can't put (Dykes) in there and run 75 snaps at a D-lineman at tackle and nose and expect him to last. We gotta get depth there."

Rodriguez said that WVU's Thursday night practice – its lone full contact session on the first two-a-day held – was again disrupted by lightning midway through. The team moved inside to the Caperton IPF and was not off the field until after 10 p.m. The Mountaineers practiced in full gear again today, doing a lot of situational work, including some that are not as common in games, like a sudden possession switch.

"It was just all right," Rodriguez said of Thursday's practice. "I saw some good and some bad. Nothing spectacular. Today was a little better at times and at other times it wasn't. We did … every third down you could have, a two-minute drill, a fourth down drill, a set change drill."

Defensive end Johnny Dingle did not practice because of a strained hamstring. He is day-to-day. Scooter Berry is also listed as day-to-day with a bad elbow. The two are among the two-deep on the defensive front, an area considered to have the least depth of any on that side of the ball. Thor Merrow returned to practice after being out Thursday, though Julian Miller, a true freshman on the line, also did not drill. Linebacker Marc Magro was told to go home because of his mono. He looked "as sick as I have ever seen him," Rodriguez said. Many players are missing practice time due to summer classes, which were completed today. No other Mountaineer players, however, appear to have contracted or missed time because of mono.

Rodriguez said the next week of camp would finally be all football, with WVU scheduled to have single practices on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and two on Tuesday and Thursday. The Mountaineers hold their first scrimmage this Saturday after drilling in shorts in the morning. Sunday the team will have meetings and walk-throughs only to prepare for the final week.

The offensive execution has been lacking, Rodriguez said, more because of its own mistakes than anything the defense is doing. That could be purely coach speak, but it does appear that the staff would like to see much improved play and numbers along the lines. More will be known after added contact and the two two-a-days next week.

"They know we're not in shape," Rodriguez said. "We are not in West Virginia game shape. There is a difference between running in summer. But when you go in there and there is hitting and thinking involved, there are two different dynamics that are not involved in the summer. Our veterans know that. That's why we, as coaches, know we need a tough camp. We have one week of nothing but football. That I know. It's one solid week of getting after it. You can't get into game shape in one week, but you can be better than you were if you didn't do anything."

Note: Rodriguez is hoping the WVU athletic department can get enough funding to purchase an antibacterial spray offered by the employer of a former player (Cisco Jeter, Salem, 1988). The spray can be placed upon all locker and weight room surfaces and the artificial turf to reduce the number of bacteria and thus the potential for outbreaks of mono and MRSA, a staph infection common to sports teams because of the number of players and the sweat and other fluids involved.

"I told (Jeter) to send a quote," Rodriguez said. "I get nervous when I hear about it. I think we need to get it. It's more a concern inside, in a confined environment."

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