July 4, 2006

Wicks trying to keep everyone on same reel

MORGANTOWN--Last January, when several of his teammates might have been out with their families and girlfriends at pre-Sugar Bowl fanfare, WVU spur Eric Wicks was locked up in his Hyatt Regency room.

The reason was, Wicks was studying tape on the Georgia Bulldogs, who the Mountaineers would topple in the Dawgs' backyard.

Wicks, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior (he gets another season back if he completes a majority of his graduation credits in the summer of 2007), has carried over that past time as the Mountaineers prepared to finish their off-season conditioning Friday.

They must back at the Milan Puskar Center football complex the second week of July to go into preseason mode.

While Wicks, of nearby Pittsburgh Perry Traditional, was 11 years old when WVU did battle with in-state rival Marshall in 1997, he fully understands the challenge ahead when the teams meet on Sept. 2 here in the Friends of Coal Bowl, a game that likely will be aired on ESPN-Plus.

"It's a big game; if we lose to them it's going to be a little bit of a problem. I have been watching film for our first game (with Marshall)," the understated veteran defensive back said Tuesday in the Puskar Center lobby. "I've been watching what they did last year. Some of their tendencies. I know they have an explosive tailback and quarterback."

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