MORGANTOWN - They're called football players, after all, not football practicers, and that is why many of the Mountaineers wish they could be facing an opponent this weekend as a way to remove the bitter taste of defeat surrounding a game they say they let slip away.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," said West Virginia University defense end Julian Miller. "We just didn't execute (in the 20-14 loss to then No. 12 Louisana State). We felt we were the better team out there because the only team that can beat us is us. We just let it slip away."
The Mountaineers, 3-1 and listed as "others receiving votes" in the latest rankings, are idle this weekend. They play host to UNLV on Oct. 9, and until then, it's practice, practice, practice.
"Obviously, we would rather play," said quarterback Geno Smith. "But (this week), we can get refocused and come out next week with a vengeance."
WVU coach Bill Stewart said the team will use this week to nurse some wounded warriors back to health, the most notable being running back Noel Devine. The senior was limited to just a few plays after injuring his foot. The doctors have diagnosed the problem as a bruised bone beneath his big toe. He has been fitted with an orthotic to help alleviate the pressure and pain.
Stewart expects Devine, along with offensive lineman Josh Jenkins to be ready for the next game.
But until then, Stewart said the Mountaineers will correct some problems and let some of the younger players get a longer look in practice.
"It's going to be a long 12 days," he said. "These guys want to play football. We're not going to try to re-invent the wheel. Our wheel looks pretty good, and our wheel's not squeaky."