Rod Report - Day VIII

Rich Rodriguez walked into his scheduled press conference at 5:48 p.m. He walked out at 5:52 – and 16 seconds.

"Sorry, guys, I'm only going to give you five minutes. I got a lot of work to do," Rodriguez said. "And they'll be no player interviews. They got too much to do, too."

There weren't any player interviews slated for Saturday, the day of WVU's first scrimmage of fall camp, anyway. But Rodriguez, in and out of the presser in 4:16, had made his point. Faced with poor weather, numerous injuries and a summer class schedule in its first year made by the University that had half his players out for much of camp, the Mountaineers had been cuddled with a "country club" atmosphere during the first week. And the scrimmage showed it.

"It was a very below-average scrimmage," Rodriguez said. "I thought the defense did some good things. I have to watch the film and evaluate a little more. The offense didn't execute, really, at all. Adam Bednarik did some nice things at quarterback. Outside of that, didn't really see much of anything offensively. Defensively, they created a couple turnovers. It seemed like they were getting to the ball pretty good. But our camp, it has been too easy. It's been like a country club. We have to get back to getting this camp the right way and get them focused on their assignments and playing more disciplined."

First scrimmages are often marred by penalties. But there were, apparently like many other things, too many. And many were stupid, to top it off. The execution was poor, and only the second or third teams "might have scored a couple touchdowns," according to Rodriguez. "I don't count that."

The special teams did perform better, however. The punt team, especially, did a solid job versus a live rush. The Mountaineers also covered kickoff and kickoff return, and the returners performed well in their first real scrimmage action of the camp. But, overall, the defense was dominant, and then only with the second and third units.

"There was some good. There were a few more plays by the second group than the first group," Rodriguez said. "Red zone work was pretty good for the offense, but we only did a little bit. Overall, it was very poor and we have to get back to work. That's why I am in a hurry."

West Virginia will hold meetings with players at 9 p.m. tonight, then again on Sunday, when it holds a base walk-through. That will lead into the opening of camp next week, one that Rodriguez is promising will address the myriad of issues that the last seven days have not, including trying to find a backup center. Reserve offensive linemen Frank Carduff, a 6-4, 295-pound sophomore out of Shenandoah, Pa. and Gino Gradkowski, a 6-2, 280-pound freshman from Pittsburgh, took the majority of snaps at the reserve center spot in the scrimmage. Donnie Smith, a 6-2, 290-pound sophomore from Sterling, Va. also saw time there.

"I didn't think anybody looked good," Rodriguez said. "It's usually ugly, but this was uglier than normal and uglier than we would like. We are not nearly where we should be at the end of the first week, and that's why we are going to have a long meeting tonight. We're not close, not remotely close. We have a long way, a long way. That's not coach speak; that's the truth. It just hasn't been a good week of camp: half the guys here, half not, rain, guys missing meetings. It's not a true camp. You gotta deal with it and get better. That's my job, to figure out how. We got a week to get it right."

Note: Steve Slaton took some contact in the scrimmage, and Rodriguez said he should be past worrying about his reconstructed wrist, which has a metal rod in it. He did say Slaton was not ready to play compared to where he could be. Also, "about the same players" were injured for the scrimmage that were during Friday's practice.

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