The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 13, 2011

FURFARI COLUMN: Rader says WVU break is timely

MORGANTOWN — Tyler Rader, a starting guard in West Virginia University’s offensive line, thinks this week’s open date on the schedule is very timely.

“We’ve got to get better for the stretch drive,” said the 6-foot-3, 296-pound senior from Nitro. “This break gives us some time to rest.

“Those who have been injured have some time to heal. And those of us who don’t live far can get home for a brief visit.”

Rader, a graduate of Nitro High, admits that the Mountaineers, 5-1 and ranked 13th in the nation, have been through a physically tough six weeks of competition.

So all of the players welcome the break.

West Virginia resumes action a week from Friday night in a Big East game at Syracuse (4-2). The Orange are also idle this week.

“Syracuse has a lot of big guys,” Rader said. “But all of the teams in the conference are pretty big.”

Like teammates, he believes WVU may find the last six-game stretch tougher than the opening six games.

“We’re expecting to take everyones best shot,” Rader said. “Teams are going to want to prove themselves in Big East play.

“It’s important and every week it’ll be a battle.”

Four of the six contests are away from home.

Coach Dana Holgorsen and his assistants have told their players what each should do to make himself better during the open week. But they will get a couple days off.

“You try to improve on things you want to continue working on,” Rader explained. “That includes whatever will help you in the next six games.”

The state native believes the offensive line has shown steady improvement. But he hopes it will continue to get better.

He is impressed by some of the newcomers. The freshman class is as good as he’s seen here.

“I’ve seen improvement all along our line,” Rader noted. “We’re tight as a unit. I think it’s the system. I can’t really pinpoint what it is. Maybe attitude.”

He said the offensive lineman understand the offense a lot better now than they did six weeks ago. But more improvement is the line’s goal.

“I’m going home when we get a couple days off, Rader added. “I want to see family, and I’m looking forward to a home-cooked meal.”

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