Back To Basics Against UC

Head coach Rich Rodriguez covered the health of Darius Reynaud, taking care of the football and the looming match-up with No. 22 Cincinnati.

The mishmash of information was primarily positive. Reynaud, who was removed from the game after a 32-yard reception midway through the 38-31 win over Louisville, later returned to action and has been cleared at 100 percent. On the first snap upon being reinserted, Reynaud limped noticeably and was unable to provide any type of block.

"He is fine; he tweaked a leg making a big catch," Rodriguez said. "He is having an outstanding year and becoming more of a complete player. He is an explosive guy, and he has made a lot of plays for us. He factors heavily into our game plan every week."

Reynaud, with two touchdown catches, helped West Virginia remain in the hunt for at least a BCS berth and Big East title. The No. 6 Mountaineers (8-1, 3-1 Big East) face the Bearcats in a key league tilt at sold out Nippert Stadium (40,000). Kickoff is at 7:5 p.m. on Saturday.

"I told (the players) after the (South Florida) loss that the only goal we don't have is going undefeated," Rodriguez said. "We took a good shot from Louisville and won. I said a lot of things were going to happen in college football this year. Our goal, primarily, every year is to win the Big East. We are right in the middle of that race. We have a lot of things to get better at, like learning how to finish and take care of the football."

West Virginia fumbled four times against Louisville, with two of those coming by quarterback Patrick White. The junior ran for a 50-yard touchdown with approximately 90 seconds left for the win.

"He is a great competitor," Rodriguez said of White. "He has shown improvement over the last three years, and he's not a real big guy, at 190 pounds. He will stick it up in there, and he has lots of respect for the team because he comes to compete every day. He shows the leadership ability you want out of a quarterback. … We have been very good at (not turning it over) this year. We have not done well in the loss at South Florida and last game. We work very hard in practice, and sometimes the fumbles slip or they do a good job of getting a hat on the ball. We have to get that corrected for Cincinnati, which is one of the ebst in the country at creating turnovers (with 35 against 11 surrendered)."

West Virginia would like to perform better in the red zone. Its defense, though not allowing foes many chances, has been scored upon 18 times in 20 trips. Cincinnati has scored 39 of 44 times it has reached the red zone, the best ratio in the Big East. Rodriguez admitted the Mountaineers have not had the success they would like to, and that they have been drilling it in practice every day.

"You really want someone on your defense to make a play, or to at least limit them to a field goal try or opportunity," Rodriguez said. "Cincinnati is very good in the red zone because they do so many things offensively (in the spread) and they have a good kicker. The hardest thing to do is tackle in the open field. The best defense and struggle with that and they will give up points. You don't know if your guys are as good as the guys you will play. You hope you athletes will be as good in space as the opposing athletes. They have very athletic players playing with a lot of confidence. It is going to be a tough atmosphere at their place.

"If we can repeat with a win, I would be happy. The turnovers, dropping the ball, that has got to get corrected. Execution and fundamental technique things have got to get better as well. (Louisville) was not our best performance, but we played a talented team and got the win, and we certainly not going to apologize for that."

Mountaineers Daily Top Stories