Try as West Virginia Coach Rich Rodriguez might to deny the possibility, it sure seems like he influenced the outcome of Friday’s game against South Florida in ways other than play-calling.
Rodriguez said last week that his Mountaineers were like baseball’s New York Yankees because both have a way of filling visiting stadiums. AccordingÂ to the Tampa Tribune, the Bulls did not careÂ for the comparisonÂ .
”We did it again,” said defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, drenched from a postgame Gatorade bath.
Burnham was especially fired up about beating the Mountaineers, who were all wearing New York Yankees hats when they stepped off the bus before the game. Earlier this week, Coach Rich Rodriguez compared the Mountaineers’ following on road games to the Yankees.
”You tell West Virginia, they can take those Yankees hats and stick them â€¦ you know what I’m saying,” Burnham said.
In the simplest context, the comparison works. WVU hasÂ an exciting team, plus a large population of fans and alumni throughout the east that travels well and makes its presence known on the road.
After the 21-13 victory, USF quarterback Matt Grothe had one problem with the statement.
“Last time I checked, the Yankees haven’t won a World Series in a while,” said Matt Grothe, USF quarterback from Lake Gibson.”
Rodriguez only thought he was making a simpleÂ analogy and did not mean to rattle the Bulls, who, we must remember, weren’t talking about this before the game. On Sunday, Rodriguez said some and not all of his players were wearing the hats andÂ that it wasn’t a big deal.
â€œItâ€™s a fact. Anytime we go somewhere we help sell the place out,â€™â€™ Rodriguez said. â€œThat isnâ€™t a slam at the other team or anything like that.â€™â€™
Nobody told that to the Bulls. In fact, it was relayed to them in the opposite manner, which Rodriguez said could happen as USF coaches could use it however they wanted. Regardless, the Bulls were on the defensive … literally.
”We’re not going to let them come into our house and talk all that trash,” said senior defensive tackle Richard Clebert, who had one of USF’s three sacks. ”For the second year in a row, Steve Slaton was a nobody, Pat White was a nobody.”