Official West Virginia Mountaineers thread

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Official West Virginia Mountaineers thread

(MORGANTOWN)-- Although a steady downpour slowed his team's
second day of fall camp, it didn't dampen Rich Rodriguez's enthusiasm for a select group of rookies that have caught his eye to this point.

Following an afternoon in which throwing and catching the ball
seemed near impossible at times, Rodriguez lauded "a handful of
newcomers that have shown they can help us win."

So just who are these 'nificent newbies?

"I don't want to say until we put some pads on, but I will say
there are some standouts at the skill positions," said a beaming

However, if you've ever plotted a caper with Rodriguez, rethink
your plans: it didn't take much coaxing from reporters to get him to
reveal names.

"Jock Sanders, Brandon Hogan and Noel Devine are three guys that
may be able to see the field early. Mostly, I've been impressed with
some receivers that could give us some competition and depth. Will
Johnson, C.J. Matthews, Alric Arnett, all those guys will have a
chance to compete. We'll just have to see how it shakes out."

Rodriguez was particularly fond of Hogan.

"Some (freshmen) pick it up quicker than others, like Brandon
Hogan. Brandon seems to pick up our concepts really quick. Maybe it's
because he played in a similar system in high school. Whatever the
reason, he's really stood out at slot receiver. When tell him to do
something, he does it, and he understands why he's doing it."

* * * * *

Rodriguez again pointed out the work of his newcomers such as Jock Sanders.
Rodriguez also addressed a much-maligned secondary that caused
more than a few Mountaineer fans to reach for the antacid last

"We have more competition this year, particularly at corner, than
we've ever had. Vaughn Rivers, Antonio Lewis and Larry Williams are
three senior corners who need to have their best year of football.
Through two days of camp they've done well, and they're f*ghting. It's
no secret that our secondary didn't play well in the second half of
last year. But sometimes it's not all the fault of the secondary. We
didn't get a lot of pressure up front and we didn't dictate the action
last year, and that's being addressed through schemes and personnel
and everything else. We've got enough talent over there to get it

* * * * *

The first position change to be hinted at by Rodriguez so far
would seem to be a somewhat unlikely one.

"Adam Bednarik already knows what he's doing at quarterback, so
we're going to try him out at multiple positions. He'll line up at
receiver and catch the ball some. He'll still take some reps at
quarterback, but Pat and Jarrett will see the vast majority of them."

Rodriguez added that freshmen Charlie Russell and Bradley Starks
are also seeing reps at signal-caller, but attached a caveat.

"You want to talk about swimming mentally; they're just happy to
get the snap. There reps will diminish every day until the scout team
gets together in two weeks."

* * * * *

While it seems Mountaineer fans everywhere want to see 6-8
receiver Wes Lyons on the field this fall, Rodriguez urged patience
with the sophomore out of Woodland Hills High School in suburban

"Wes didn't do much today because his knee is a little sore. But
even if he was healthy, he wouldn't run with the first group. I'm not
down on Wes. He's just a second year player, so I don't want to put
too much on him. Everybody wants to anoint certain people on this team
to be the guy. We know who the guys are because they're out there
doing things on the field. I hope Wes can keep getting better, but
he's a little hobbled right now so he's going to be behind."

* * * * *

Don't expect to see freshman defensive lineman and Morgantown
native Junius Lewis on the field anytime soon.

"Junius is going to get greyshirted," said Rodriguez. "He's got
two issues. The most critical is his eligibility. It may take upward
of three weeks to get his stuff cleared up with the NCAA, if it gets
cleared up. That will take him past when school starts. Then he also
has a knee problem that he played with in high school that has flared
up during summer workouts.

"The most critical issue is his eligibility. But we've done it a
few times in the past. It seems like most of the guys we've done it
with have been defensive linemen, and it's worked pretty well for
them. Pat Liebig, Thor Merrow, and Scooter Berry were all greyshirts.
I don't know if it's a coincidence that it's only been defensive
linemen, but it's been very beneficial for us and them."

* * * * *

Linebacker Ovid Goulbourne (hamstring), defensive lineman Chris Neild (foot) and Lyons (knee) were the only players to miss practice
on Sunday. Of the three, Neild's injury was the most unusual.

"Chris Neild had shoes that were too tight for his big feet, so
he's got, like, bruises on them," Rodriguez said. "I guess we've gotta
call Nike to get him a wider shoe because of his big fat feet."

* * * * *

The Mountaineers will continue with one practice a day until
Thursday, which will be one of just four days in which WVU players
will endure two practice sessions in one day. The players will don
shoulder pads for the first time on Wednesday.


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