Rod Report: Marshall Game

Head coach Rich Rodriguez believes it was a combination of Marshall's execution and West Virginia's lack of the same that contributed to a seven-point halftime deficit against the Herd.

"It was a little bit of both," said Rodriguez one day after WVU's 48-23 win over the Herd. "They did a nice job and made some plays on both sides of the ball. We didn't execute well in the first half, but we made some adjustments at halftime. I thought it was critical that we got some drives going early in the second half."

Rodriguez thought, however, that the first half wasn't the disaster that some perceived it to be.

"We scored on the second drive [against Marshall], and the first drive against Western Michigan. Normally, we are pretty good out of the gates," he noted. "We just came up a yard or two short on some third down plays. The guys' focus was pretty good. There were not many missed assignments, but one or two critical ones that ended up stopping drives."

West Virginia's attention must now turn quickly to Maryland, which the Mountaineers face on Thursday night. WVU will quickly get through review of the Marshall game tapes and jump into preparation for the Terrapins.

"Maryland has a lot of key players back, and is probably even faster than their last couple of teams. They always have big, strong, physical teams. They have a lot of size on both lines. That causes some concern.

"It has been a nice rivalry," Rodriguez continued, laying the term on a game where it belongs. "Even back when I was playing, it was always a big game with a lot at stake. It has been a very physical series and hard-hitting. It always seems to be a sellout crowd."

RIFLE REPORTS In addition to Nate Sowers (hamstring) and Ridwan Malik (back), Rodriguez revealed that Alric Arnett, who missed portions of fall camp, has a thumb injury that is keeping him out of the lineup. He did not travel to Huntington. Wes Lyons saw his first action of the season, and had "about 20 snaps" according to the coach.

"Wes missed a lot of fall camp, but if he keeps progressing he will play more and more. He played pretty well."

Keilen Dykes aggravated a foot sprain that may have been the cause of some missed time against Western Michigan, and was termed day-to-day.

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Hot topic number one among Mountaineer fans, the pass rush, was deemed, "o.k. at times, not good in others," by Rodriguez. Although WVU did get four sacks, perhaps partly attributable to the use of several different pressure packages, West Virginia didn't manage the consistency up front that the coaching staff is looking for.

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Quentin Andrews, in his first action of the season, seemed to fall in line with the assessments of the defense as a whole.

"Quentin did o.k. He played solid," Rodriguez said. "He had a couple of good moments, but a couple of bad moments, too."

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Darius Reynaud, whose reticence to speak to the media is documented here, was a no-doubt recruit despite coming up just short on initial eligibility.

"Everyone is different personality wise," Rodriguez noted. "Darius is from a little town, and was a great high school running back. He was close to qualifying, but just barely short on the test. We loved his personality when we were recruiting him. Everyone in the school loved him. We thought he had the type of passion to succeed in college, both in football and academically. He has kind of been under the radar, but he is a lot of fun to be around. He is very popular among his teammates because he is so humble."

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The early start allowed Rodriguez to catch part of South Florida's overtime win over Auburn, and the coach, who has been a major proselytizer of the Big East's strength, was

"South Florida looked very impressive," he said. "They certainly deserve to be in the Top 25."

Despite gaining a rod win over an almighty SEC team, South Florida did not get into the Top 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, nor did it even finish in front of the Tigers. Auburn is 26th and USF 27th in the latest edition of the poll.

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