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CURRENT STORIES


Rodriguez back after knee surgery

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

MORGANTOWN -- Twenty-five hours after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez was back at practice leading his players through workouts Monday morning at Mountaineer Field.

"Modern technology is great, isn't it?" Rodriguez said, following the morning session. "I'm just grateful they could get me in early on a Sunday morning."

Dr. David Stoll performed the surgery on the third-year coach.

"I had some old torn cartilage and meniscus problems," Rodriguez said. "There were some kneecap issues too.

"He wanted to hold me out, but that would be embarrassing. I'm just glad we could get it out of the way."

Rodriguez said he injured the knee several months ago but hesitated to have surgery on it.

"When we started practice, I couldn't run," he said.

After the surgery, he returned to Mountaineer Field for a staff meeting later that morning and walked through practice later that afternoon.

"They say I'll be running by the end of the week," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was back in form Monday, castigating the team near the end of practice concerning diet issues.

"It was a minor thing, but when you tell them not to do something and one or two players do it and we can't find out who they are, I punish the whole team," he said. "There are minor discipline things and lessons the young guys have to learn have to happen now.

"Discipline is something you have to have early. Our program is built on discipline."

Apparently, a few players were taking the snacks of other players.

"We have a reason for giving them the snack we do," he said.

Extra crossfield running, under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis, was the punishment.

"Discipline has to be the foundation of the program," Rodriguez said. "We have 105 young men here now and we'll have 135 between 18 and 22, or so once school starts and they're not always going to do the right things.

"But nonetheless, you've got to have some kind of team rules."

n GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Junior college transfer Kay-Jay Harris continued his impressive running during scrimmaging Monday morning. He broke off several long runs and burrowed his way through would-be tacklers for a score in a goalline situation.

In addition, he caught a few passes.

But the 240-pound junior also fumbled three times during the session, something that Rodriguez was well aware of.

"Even though he's not a young guy, he is a new guy and still needs to learn what we demand of taking care of the football," Rodriguez said. "We've made it clear that if you fumble, you won't play."

n HIT OF THE DAY: After being kidded constantly for being flattened last week by Quincy Wilson, cornerback Brian King got his revenge.

Wilson, a 5-11, 215-pound running back who makes a habit of steamrolling defenders, caught a swing pass from quarterback Rasheed Marshall in the left flat.

But just as Wilson made his move to head up field, King, a 5-11, 185-pound cornerback known for his hard hitting, took Wilson down in a heap, drawing oohs and aahs from several of his teammates in the process.

CAMP NOTES: The Mountaineers were to practice in shorts Monday afternoon and will hold one, three-hour session today... Situation scrimmaging with officials will likely take place Wednesday...Rodriguez said Saturday's full-scale scrimmage will include live special teams play...former University High standout Scott Gyorko saw time with the first unit at rush linebacker with Leandre Washington seeing time at the spur... Former running back Cassel Smith made a pair of solid runs on reverses from the inside slot position as a wide receiver.

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com