CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Steve Edwards Jr. hopes that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Having squared off against cross-town rival Capital (4-3) in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Grid-O-Rama two months ago, the George Washington (6-1) coach said that neither lineup closely resembles those that took the field in what became a hotly contested scrimmage at University of Charleston Stadium in mid-August.
"They look a lot different. Jon's made some changes with their personnel, and they've been good changes," Edwards said in reference to Cougars Coach Jon Carpenter. "I think those changes have allowed them to win some more ballgames, and it's been a matter of getting the right people in the right positions to make plays."
The teams meet at 7:30 tonight, again at UC Stadium.
At the time of their preseason meeting, Carpenter and Capital were experimenting with a quarterback platoon that included junior Carrington Morris and freshman Tyrhee Pratt (6-foot-3, 180 pounds).
Morris did not take a snap in the regular season before leaving the team, and Pratt has thrown for 861 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions on 52-for-99 passing (52.5 percent).
"We've lost a few guys, but we've got the guys who want to stick around, and I'll go to war with those guys," Carpenter said.
The Cougars also moved sophomore Kashaun Haley into a position where he primarily lines up at running back. He spent much of the scrimmage as a wide receiver. Haley leads Capital with 560 yards and six touchdowns, although he ranks among area leaders with 12 total touchdowns.
"They do a lot of things that are dangerous. The longer they extend a play, the more they can hurt you. To them, sometimes a busted play is their best play," Edwards said.
Carpenter said Pratt, whose numbers have come back to earth somewhat after a meteoric start, has nevertheless continued to improve as a player.
"He's got to be like Peyton Manning for us out there in how he directs everybody. A lot of people see the numbers and don't realize how hard it is for anybody to do that, let alone a freshman," Carpenter said. "Add to that, he's directing a lot of guys who are freshmen and sophomores too."
GW's experience at the core of its defensive alignment could prove pivotal. In losses to South Charleston and Cabell Midland, Capital held halftime leads before being shut out during the second halves of both games.