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West Virginia Giving Rodney Gallagher Snaps on Defense in Effort to Increase Opportunity



WVU Football WR Rodney Gallagher

Rodney Gallagher has been putting in work to impress coaches all spring, but he’s been doing that as more than just as a receiver. WVU head coach Neal Brown revealed that Gallagher has taken snaps for the defense at nickel as well. Up until Wednesday, this has happened at the practices closed to the media.

“He’s pushing to be a starter at receiver and he’s a guy we want to get him the ball. He’s also a guy that could potentially, if he stays, could give us some snaps at nickel,” said Brown during his weekly press conference on Wednesday.

In an effort clear up any confusion about Brown’s “if he stays” comment, Gallagher “two-way guy and no I’m not leaving” as his own response to the news.

The occasional snaps at nickel do not mean he’s fully changing positions, but does show an added incentive to figure out the best possible way to get Gallagher involved. Brown has been open about having reasonable expectations for Gallagher early in his college career due to his initial position change from most playing quarterback in high school.

There’s still plenty of time for Gallagher to make an impact as a Mountaineer, but it may also be difficult to earn too many opportunities in the offense with the emergence of other young receivers like Traylon Ray and Hudson Clement last year and the addition of veteran transfer Jaden Bray this offseason. WVU wide receivers coach Bilal Marshall talked about where Gallagher stands as a receiver as he enters his sophomore season and what he expects from the four-star recruit moving forward.

Marshall said Gallagher is still not where he would like him to be as a route runner, but covers up a lot of his mistakes through effort. He called Rodney a “ball player” and said he likes to watch him work.

While discussing how Gallagher has been progressing this offseason, Marshall also added that the high school star quarterback turned college wide receiver has put on 10 pounds of muscle since he last appeared in a game.

WVU Football WR Rodney Gallagher

Around this time last year, WVU fans were buzzing about one of region’s top recruits signing on with West Virginia. But while members of Mountaineer Nation did enjoy watching a freshman make plays, that receiver was Traylon Ray, not Gallagher.

Marshall and head coach Neal Brown are not worried about Gallagher’s 2023 season, both making it clear they knew a learning curve is necessary for any player when changing positions. However, their expectations for Gallagher in 2024 are now different. Brown even went as far as to say he plans to use Gallagher more in the passing game this fall.

At the start of the spring practice session, Brown was asked about year two for Gallagher. Brown explained Gallagher has worked really hard this off-season and is a much better true receiver now than he was at any point last year. He expects him to be more involved in the offense beyond gadget plays etc moving forward.

Rodney Gallagher, a product of nearby Western Pennsylvania based Laurel Highlands High School, made 10 catches for 74 yards as a receiver and was also used on gadget plays. Head coach Neal Brown recently said he believes Gallagher can be star by gilding his body and gaining more experience at the position.

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