West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez will take to the air waves tonight for his statewide call-in radio show from 7-9 p.m. on your local MSN Sportsnet affiliate and the tenor will obviously be better than it was last weekÂ (beware of some language. It’s not foul, but it’s not flowery, either).
Rodriguez spent much of his 90 minutes — the final half-hour usually goes to an assistant coach — in the cross-hairs of the callers and e-mailers who were disappointed with the team’s loss at South Florida.
Which is to say they were more disappointed with what they perceived to be the fashion in which WVU lost than they were with the fact WVU lost. Note the difference, because Rodriguez did and he was a tad, and perhaps understandably, defensive at times. He showed wise restraint, though, and finally drew a line and said he’d take no more questions about the USF game.
Somehow, 11 days after thatÂ game the topic of conversation circled back to the loss at Rodriguez’s Tuesday press conference. That wise restraint came a little undone as he addressed the reasons some people believe his team lost.
In the process, he might have given “Joe Blow sports fan” ammunition for tonight’s show…
He began a reply to one reporters’s question in a joking manner — I think — with “I knew you’d bring up something bad.”Â To another question, he replied in a less humorous tone, “You just can’t let it go, can you?”
Of course, Rodriguez wasn’t about to let it go either and he finally got a few things off his chestÂ with a sharp, sly message.
“What really bothers me — and I’m not taking it personally — but it bothers me when Joe Blow sports fan who don’t know nothing about what’s going on out there says, ‘Boy, this team was unprepared.’ How do you know? My practices are closed. All I can do is judge on what I’ve seen in my limited experience as a head coach and what my coaches see. Our players are very focused every week. In the locker room before that game, they couldn’t wait to go out there. Maybe we had some plays when it looked at times like we were unprepared, but when someone says that a team is unprepared, that’s someone reaching for an answer that doesn’t know football.”
Pens were doing double-time and Rodriguez was not yet finished.
“Football is an interesting sport. People probably know less about it and think they know more about it than any other sport. It’s a complicated issue. I do know this and our players know this: There are good players and if you don’t play well and don’t execute and you’re not at your best, you’re going to get beat, particularly when you play a good team at their place.”
As far as Rodriguez was concerned, that’s what happened.Â The Bulls had it and the Mountaineers did not. Rodriguez admitted the team that had better play and, yes,Â better coaching won the game.Â
“We had a lot of bad plays and bad coaching at times. I’d like to call some plays back. But a lot of people want to dismiss it like, ‘Boy, this team was unprepared.’ No. We got beat. Their team played better than ours. There ain’t no do-overs. I wish we could do it over, but we can’t.”
If you’re wondering, you can contact the show at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-765-8255.