Rodgers Makes Move To Backfield

Marc Rodgers has a lot of moves on the football field, but his most recent sidestep may have greatly increased his chances of playing time.

When Rodgers first arrived at West Virginia, he was assigned to the slot receiver position, where he worked for much of preseason camp. However, a spate of miscues at running back led to his move to the backfield.

"The coaches just switched me," he said of the move. "I guess they didn't feel comfortable with the other two guys fumbling the ball so they wanted to try me out, and I did pretty good. It was just the coaches' choice. They just wanted to move [some players] around and see what everyone could do."

Starting out at slot receiver, then moving back to his familiar running back position, was probably the last thing on Rodgers' mind when he made the move east. The California native was introduced to the Mountaineers by his high school football coach after hearing WVU was in the market for a running back to play behind Noel Devine. Rodgers came to the decision to play for WVU while being recruited by both the Mountaineers and Washington State University. Rodgers' brother Lance Broadus was a defensive end for WSU.

Despite Rodgers' family ties with Washington State, Coach Doc Holliday convinced him to move across the country, and now he is poised to be a key contributor to WVU's offensive fortunes. Despite the uncertainty caused by being a long way from home, Rodgers was confident from day one that he would be able to prove himself and believed he would be able to get on to the field sooner with the Mountaineers than if he had chosen WSU.

Once at WVU, Rodgers adjusted quickly, and looked solid during early practice sessions at slot. Then came the switch, which might be expected to be yet another difficult hurdle for a newcomer. ROdgers handled it aplomb, however. He rushed for 2,319 yards and 19 touchdowns during his senior year of high school, so it's not as if he has never taken a handoff before. He has made an easy transition to running back under assistant coach Chris Beatty, but is also ready to move back out to receiver if need be. He has been getting help from some of the best players at both positions.

"Jock Sanders helps me out a lot at slot (receiver). Noel Devine helps me out a lot at running back. (Devine) always gives me advice. He always gives me all of his knowledge and I just take it and run with it. They are just trying to make the team better," said Rodgers, who describes his playing style as "shifty". That description might also apply to his ability to change positions, as well as to dodge tacklers.


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