Rod Report - Marshall

West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez discussed a myriad of topics during his weekly press conference. Here's a look at the questions and answers from that sesssion.

  • On horse collar tackling, which is illegal in the NFL, but legal in the NCAA:

    RR: "The horse collar rule makes a lot of sense. It's grabbing a guy by the back of the shoulder pads and dragging him down. The NFL instituted the rule either a year or two years ago for safety issues. They called it a personal foul like a fascemask. I would anticipate it might come up (to become a rule) in the NCAA."

  • On why players wear arm bands:

    RR: "Some of them think they look fashionable, that it makes them look tough. For me, wristbands are to keep sweat off your hands. I have seen people wear wristbands on their legs. I don't understand that. I don't know why you worry about sweat on your legs unless you are a soccer player kicking a soccer ball. Our players are not allowed to wear wristbands on their legs. They do wear some of the wristbands as arms bands, on their arms. Maybe they think it makes their muscles look bigger. Now, I wore them when I played on my wrists to keep my hands dry because we did not have gloves. Most of the players now, the skill guys, wear gloves. (Backup quarterback) Jarrett Brown, he would probably have to wear eight wristbands, his hands are so slimy and greasy. I can't hardly shake his hands. I almost make him wear a glove. There have been times when I have made him wear a glove on his non-throwing hand because it is so wet."

  • On why WVU has two starters wearing the same number (Note: Players are allowed to wear the same number, but no two players wearing the same number can be in the game at the same time):

    RR: "We have more than 100 players. It's offensive and defensive guys. I guess (wide receiver) Dorrell Jalloh had number 21 and (transfer free safety) Ryan Mundy must have wanted it. I think we have a couple other guys that have that, but they are offensive and defensive guys. We tell them the person makes the number, not the number making the person. The one I wore when I played was the one I got stuck with. Usually whatever the number is the guys get when they get here is what they get. If we can, we try to accommodate them. We have a couple guys. (Tailback Jock) Sanders and (cornerback) Guesly Dervil have the same number (9) as well."

  • On WVU's decision to move the NCAA mandated off day from Sunday to Monday:

    RR: "I kinda like, for good or bad, seeing the players the day after the game. We get a little sweat going and get some lifting in. It's more finishing up the previous game than getting ready for the next game. The NCAA rules make you have one day off, completely away from football. The players can get treatments and do academics, but all they will do is class, study hall and treatments. Thursday games will change that scenario. We will have meetings on Friday after the Thursday game (at Maryland), then probably give them Saturday or Sunday off. This coming week we will go all the way through (to prepare for Maryland)."

  • On Miami intercepting Marshall four times in the season-opener:

    RR: "It was more Miami making plays. I have always been impressed with (Marshalll quarterback Bernie) Morris. He has a strong arm. They have got as good a skill group as anyone. Some of the wideouts are spectacular and the tight end is impressive. I think the difference for them was the Miami defensive line. They have a couple first-round draft picks rushing the passer."

  • On what Marshall is doing differently now on defense than it did last season:

    RR: "It's a little different with coach (Steve) Dunlap there. He is putting his stamp on the defense. I have watched two games and it looks similar with some things and different with others. They are doing some different things in the secondary. With a new coordinator you will do your own thing. I have an idea what (Dunlap) did here, and I know what he did at Syracuse because we played them a few times. Steve has a lot of experience and he has done a little bit of everything. Going into this game, you don't know what his plan of attack will be. You have an idea, and you have to prepare for some, but you can't plan for everything. You have to adapt. Because we are unique, we have to go into every game having answers to different things. It may take us a series or two to adjust to it though we have probably seen it before. Western Michigan played us differently with a cover zero (man-to-man) defense. We had to make plays.

    "Marshall will play as hard as they have ever played against us because of the intensity and rivalry and the fact that we are going down there for the first time in many, many years and the buildup. I am sure their coaches and players hear from their fans about our game just as we hear about it from our fans in their area. They will play hard and with great passion. They have athletes, guys that can give us problems. We can't just go out there and screw around. That's obvious."

  • On overlooking Marshall:

    RR: "Marshall is a quality I-A program. I think our guys understand what Marshall is. They knew last year. There was more hype last year than this year, but our guys remember that. They have seen their players on tape as well. There is a lot being made of start-up programs. But if you have 85 scholarships you are I-A. If you have the resources to recruit and an attractive area and university to get them to, you can build a program. You can't do it in two or three years, but in five to six with 85 scholarships you can build one up with the right staff in place. There have been people playing football for 100 years without much success. It's just getting everything and the right people in place."

  • On the play of offensive lineman Eric Rodemoyer:

    RR: "Rodemoyer is going to start unless he has a bad week. Both (Rodemoyer and Derek Hayes) will play. Rodemoyer was slowed by camp with the ankle injury. He was not 100 percent Saturday, but he will be better this week. (Eric Jobe) played better in the game in limited snaps than he did in practice. That was encouraging. Maybe he is a gamer. It is hard for me to trust that instinct that they are gamers and to trust them to be better in a game than practice. He did ok. We did not play the two true freshmen (Donny Barclay and Gino Gradkowski) intentionally. We would like to redshirt them. That's the plan."

  • On Marshall developing into a rival like Pitt, Syracuse or Maryland:

    RR: "We don't play. I have played them once. Coach (Don) Nehlen played them once in 20 years. You can't put a whole lot into that so-called rivalry when you have played twice in the last 20- or 30-some years. If you play every year it can become a rivalry. When you play someone a lot and there is a lot at stake the intensity makes it a rivalry. It will become a rivalry, but it is not yet. You can't compare it to Pitt because we have played Pitt 100 times. And it's a Big East conference game. With Marshall being in state and the intensity increasing, it could be a rivalry. The atmosphere will be intense. When you go on the road for the first time it is a new experience."

  • On Penn State head coach Joe Paterno disciplining his team by making them clean Beaver Stadium after their game:

    RR: "I don't think that's a novel idea. It has been going on for many years, it just hasn't been made public. I have punished the entire team for a couple guys' indiscretions. I have done it this year and last year, I just did not tell everybody and I probably won't. It's no different than a parent punishing their children, and that's what you as a coach are, a de facto parent with 130 teenagers. You think about a sleepless night with one or two, think about having 130 of them. Sometimes peer pressure plays a part of it. I thought that was an interesting idea. I thought about that when I saw the crew cleaning up our stadium. That's a job; it's not a whole lot of fun. There are a handful of things we can do if need be. Our guys understand that."

  • On West Virginia's opening drive success over the last two years:

    RR: "We script a lot of plays, maybe 20, that are potentially good and that we want to get called within the first quarter and a half. If they come out with something crazy, we had to adjust and call different plays. I think it is good players coming out and making plays and being focused. I was pleased that we did not have a lot of silly penalties, like false starts. We had one holding penalty that we were not sure was a hold, in our opinion. We did not do the silly things that will stop drives early."

  • On playing at 11:10 a.m., one of the earliest kickoffs during the Rich Rodriguez era:

    RR: "Have I ever played one before? (The Continental Tire Bowl and a road game against Wisconsin.) Why did you bring that up? Now I am nervous. Those were bad days. Those were at 11? Well, there's another four sleepless nights then. Really, we just plan on moving things up an hour and rolling with it. The Tire Bowl I have tried to forget. We were asleep early and never woke up there. Same thing with Wisconsin. But I don't think it will be an issue. They have had 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. workouts, so they will be fine."

  • On the team health:

    RR: "It's pretty good. I hope (linebacker) Bobby Hathaway (broken hand) will be able to play this week. There are no new injuries. We came out of last week in pretty good shape."

  • On Marshall averaging 21 yards per return against Miami:

    RR: "I bet everybody's kick return averages have gone up. Even if the ball is kicked to the end zone people will take it out because you have five more yards to cover. That is the biggest rule change impact on the game. It changed field position. We made a couple changes this week to get some more speed to get down there. Marshall has a nice scheme and good returners. They have really talented returners. That's why we have to make sure we have fast guys. You have to have fast, tough guys because you have to get off blocks and maybe hit a wedge. That's 60 yards you are running down."

  • On watching the Florida State at Clemson game:

    RR: "I watched a bit of it. I got home for part of the second half. Clemson was flying around pretty good. There were some athletes on that field. There are a lot of places (with good atmosphere). Ours is pretty special, too. They hold 80,000 and we hold 60,000, but I'll take ours. People don't realize that college football has changed. Florida State had the market on some of the best athletes in the country. They don't have it cornered anymore. They are going to different places like West Virginia and Clemson. There are pretty good athletes all over the place. That's why I think college football is at a peak. The schemes you see and other things. Nicholls State beat Rice. Arkansas State almost beat Texas. Now, come on, how many four- and five-star athletes are on Arkansas State? How many does Texas have? And that game (was close)."

  • On WVU being favored by 23.5 points:

    RR: "It's about time you brought up the spread. It took 25 minutes. I don't ever care about that. We know we will get Marshall's best game on Saturday. We have to be prepared to play ours."

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