Things Of That Nature - Miami

Head football coach Rich Rodriguez wants to get the passing game going, but knows that several areas of improvement are needed.

"Our wide receivers have to take another step to get separation," Rodriguez said in analyzing WVU's struggling passing attack. "We need to use fundamentals and techniques to get open.

"We're working on that every day, and Coach Bird is working with them on it in every practice. We've been doing it through the week but not on Saturdays."

Rodriguez offered the comments in response to questions about West Virginia's passing woes. A great deal of attention has been placed on quarterback Rasheed Marshall, but there are other problem areas, such as those Rodriguez referenced in the receiving corps.

WVU's pass catchers aren't blessed with blazing speed, so they need to use body positioning, good footwork, and other solid techniques to create space between themselves and defenders. So far, that exeuction has been spotty.

Rodriguez admitted, however, that some of those problems this week could be attributed to the Miami secondary.

"Some of it was Miami. Obviously they can run - they've got defensive linemen and linebackers that can run with our wide receivers. But, like I said, sometimes your techniques can help you get open."


Rodriguez was pleased with the physical nature of his team's performance.

"I thought we played physical, and gave good effort. As the program grows we want to see that kind of effort every weekend. Our execution was not particularly sharp, but we played really physical."

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The Mountinaeers only committed three penalties for 30 yards in the contest, which pleased Rodriguez.

"We've stressed penalities pretty good. Some of the earlier penalties we're not sure were penalties. The ones we had against Miami were not very smart, but that's a key for us, to play smarter every week."

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the injury front improved somewhat this week, as A. J. Nastasi returned to the field, and no one else was seriously injured. Ken Sandor had a minor ankle sprain, and might miss a day or two of practice, but should be fine as the week goes on.

Avon Cobourne got the wind knocked out of him when he was tackled and fell on the football, and Tim Brown was shaken up on the same drive where Sandor was injured. Both returned to the game.

WVU did miss Brian King, whose broken thumb kept him out. Rodriguez hopes to get the cast reshaped so King can play against Temple.

"Brian King's cast was so bulky that we didn't feel he'd be effective at either breaking up passes or tackling," Rodriguez said. This week we hope to whittle it down some to give him more use of his fingers."

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Rodriguez hasn't watched any tape from Temple's solid performance against Virginia Tech (a 20-10 loss. Still, he was not shocked at the final score.

"It doesn't surpise me," Rodriguez said of the Owls play. "They are senior dominated, have been good defensively, and have just done a good job. They worry me, because they are playing good football.

"They have a lot of similar formations and similar runs as we do. They've done a good job of not making mistakes. One thing, it should make it easy for both teams from a preparation standpoint, because we're so similar offensively." When we blitzed them they did a good job of picking them up. We emphasized watching the wheel routes at halftime, and we had two different critical errors on those in the second half. When we blitzed we got some pressure, but pass rush is still a concern. We have to generate a rush without outnumbering them and bringing six or seven. On returns: Did a good job of getting the right hat on a hat, and Brzxton did a good job of hitting it up in there quickly.

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