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WVU turns focus on USF

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MORGANTOWN  No. 20 West Virginia (6-1, 3-0) turned its attention toward Saturday’s Big East game at South Florida (3-3, 1-1) Monday after enjoying for a day the 46-44 triple-overtime conquest of Louisville.

“We watched a lot of film on South Florida on Sunday, and we know we’ve got a great challenge going down there,†coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday.

“Now we’ve got to regroup. This is our eighth straight game without an open date. So we’ve got to update our energy again this weekend.â€Â

Rodriguez recalled that USF played great in all three phases Sept. 24 in its shocking 45-14 upset of then-undefeated Louisville.

“South Florida just dominated Louisville in their game and really kind of ran away with it,†he said. “So that’s going to get our guys’ attention.â€Â

With the Bulls coming off a 31-17 loss at Pitt, Rodriguez expects them to be fired up, especially at their place, and give WVU a great shot.

“They have tremendous team speed, and the coaching staff has done a great job building that program,†he said.

Rodriguez admittedly thought WVU’s conditioning definitely was a factor against Louisville’s tiring defense.

“We take pride in that,†he explained. “I felt good in August because of the fact a commitment from our guys was there all summer.

“They had worked very, very hard (getting in shape). You could tell that when we started August camp in preparation for the season.

“And the way the schedule was, we were going to have to have that. We told the guys we didn’t want to do a lot of conditioning when practice started.

“We had to do a lot of teaching with young players, so they had to report in shape. And they’ve shown that they are.â€Â

Rodriguez always has taken the approach that his players were playing an 11-round championship fight, and now he’s saying they’re going into round eight this year.

“I just like the attitude and focus of our team so far,†he said. “We’ve asked them to not only take one game at a time but one day at a time and get better.â€Â

He thinks his young players, many of whom are seeing steadily more action, have shown surprising maturity.

“We try to instill competitiveness in them and ask them to prove themselves everyday,†Rodriguez said. “This week is going to be another test for our guys.â€Â

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