By Kelly Tuckwiller for MSNsportsNET.com
September 22, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football coach Bill Stewart quotes from Tuesday's news conference
I was very proud of our football team this past weekend down in Auburn, Ala. I thought we played Mountaineer football in its true form. We were aggressive offensively, defensively and on special teams.
I thought we had some very fine performances by several people and we had a heck of a game plan. I was really proud of the coaches and the way we attacked. But in football, the ball doesn’t always bounce your way and we got bit at the end with turnovers and not taking control of the game when we thought we had a chance to. I compliment those who played down there. It was neat to play that game and it was fun to adjust to the rain and the whole deal.
Jarrett (Brown) has a contusion underneath the shoulder. I guess it would be determined as a bruise/sprain from what I have been told by the medical people. He has been getting treatment pretty much non-stop.
Scooter (Berry) has shown some good signs of mobility. I was in the training room with those guys on Sunday and his range of motion is getting better. Reed (Williams) is making great headway. I think he would have been ready this week and now that we have that extra time, I don’t foresee any problems with him.
On coaching after a loss
I relate coaching to parenting. If I was the kind of parent that continued to harp and point fingers and blame, then I would probably lose that child because I would turn them away. If I was a lackadaisical parent, I probably wouldn’t get much out of them either. What we have to do is try to be as constructive and as truthful as we can be, and figure out what happened good, bad and indifferent. There are 11 guys on offense, 11 on defense and 11 guys on special teams that could have all played better at some time during the course of the game. That is just the fact, but no one guy lost this game for us.
You have to look at the total picture. What did you do well? I really don’t care who we are playing this week. All I care about is, ‘what can we do to become as good as we can possibly be.’ We look at the positives, the negatives and the things that are 50-50.
On changing play calling
We are throwing deep. We are throwing the ball down the middle and we are going to make them defend the field. We are not backing off in our play calling. I thought it was exciting. Offensively and defensively we had them on their heels, just look at the stats. The bottom line is we didn’t win the game. That is the biggest stat.
With play calling, you just have to figure out what you do best in crucial times. I didn’t want to leave any bullets in the holster. I want to be aggressive. However, if you have injured players like we did at Syracuse last year. Then you are going to have to hand the ball off and work the clock. We are going to be aggressive in all three phases of the game.
On kickoff coverage
It was better than it’s been. It wasn’t like it was three or four years ago when I put this in. It looks like we are headed back in that direction.
Robert Sands was in there, Jordan Roberts was in, Matt Lindamood was in and Trippe Hale was back. He was an explosion. He was in on three big hits. He is a homeboy down there and when I put him in that lineup, it was the best thing I did. It was fun to see him get back in the swing of things.
On earning a starting position
If I see someone practice well, they will play. Guys that don’t practice as well as other guys in their position will still play, they just won’t start. It is not anything against one person.
On being aggressive and dealing with turnovers
I don’t want ever to have a quarterback be reckless, but I hope they have the same attitude that Jarrett Brown has and the John Elway kind of guys have. Those guys I can put in there and they make the throw. Jarrett is an aggressive. He likes to pitch it and catch it and he attack defenses, and he has done a pretty good job. It was his fifth start and his first road start and I thought he did really well.
When Geno (Smith) went in, he came open, had a beautiful read, then he stepped on a lineman’s foot and the sack got him. That tells you that it is coming. They know where to go with the ball and when to get in there.
On Geno Smith
I think he is going to say that he got to play in one of the so-called “nice venues” of college football in his first time on the road. I also think he will grow and learn from that experience. His reads were right on. He got hit one time and stepped on a foot when he was stepping up to make a throw. It is good to see a youngster who came from high school last year step up. It was very impressive.
On Jarrett Brown
I learned that he is a tough guy, he is a leader and he wants to win so badly that he maybe he tried just a little too hard. Understand, he had some guys chasing him out there though.
If we had a game this week, Jarrett would be starting if the soreness was out. It is just a sore bruise, kind of like Syracuse last year, but it is his non-throwing arm. As tough as Jarrett Brown is, he would play if we had a game this weekend. That is just how he is and that is why I love him.
On Auburn’s passing game
I thought they made some nice catches. I don’t know if they threw the ball well, but the completions turned out well for them.
On Colorado’s passing game
First of all, we are going work on what we do. Today, we are going to go out and work on special teams. We are going to do about three periods of that, and then we are going to do three periods of skelly and four periods of team and just correct our things.
Tomorrow, we are going to do an inside drill against each other, we are going one-on-one and we are going to play Mountaineer football for two days. I don’t care who we play, we are going to get better at blocking and tackling. That is the main priority on Wednesday and Thursday. Then on Friday, we will do more special teams, back to two-minute drills and get ready for Colorado.
On Noel Devine’s size and toughness
We talked about this earlier in the year, but I would like to see him carry the ball about 20 or 25 times a game. I would like to get the ball in his hands passing about three to eight times. The problem is when you run the option and Jarrett pulls the ball, Noel’s number is called. We can’t tell you what that defense is going to do. That is why we have to find ways to get the ball in No. 7’s hand like we did on that first touchdown.
The other night, seven flat out ran over two or three guys. He is a tough man.
I think if you spread the defense out and give the ball to seven, there are lanes and creases and he can hit them. I am so impressed with his burst. When the ball touches his hands, watch how fast his feet turn.
Number nine (Jock Sanders), when we get the ball to him, he is exploding, too. These guys are playing with great explosion and that is telling me that what Mike Joseph is doing is paying off. They are fresh and they are strong.
On Jock Sanders
We are trying to spread the wealth. We are trying to spread the defense and Jock has an innate ability to get open and make catches, and he doesn’t drop the ball very often. When he catches the ball, Jock Sanders explodes out of his cut.
On Bradley Starks
That catch he made was outstanding. Bradley Starks has just given us such great vertical stretch. Bradley and Alric Arnett give the team great vertical stretch and that has an effect against defenses.
We would like to put him in a wildcat. Starks can pass the ball.
On Coach Mullen’s progress as a offensive coordinator
I think he is very comfortable. We call just about the same plays as last yera; they just work better this year.
I know our sill level is pretty good. Look at Bradley Starks, Alric Arnett, Wes Lyons and Jock Sanders out there on the flank and two tight ends with Will Johnson and Tyler Urban. Then you have Noel and Jarrett in the back field being able to run that ball that is a lot of talent. Now are we ready to be kingpins of football? No, we are still a work in progress. I really like what we are doing and I like the aggressiveness. We are not going to back off. I want to take the ball and stretch the field vertically as well as horizontally. We have always done a good job at stretching the field horizontally, but never that well vertically, and that is what we are doing.
I see a lot of talent from this Colorado team. A lot of misfiring, but a lot of talent and it was shown this week against a very tough Wyoming team. They played very hard against Colorado State and Toledo, but they were just misfiring. So I see a talented group of people that beat us last year. They have good running backs, quarterback and receivers.
On playing on National Television
It helps us greatly with recruiting. Some people have called us the Thursday night special, because people love to watch the Old Gold and Blue play. We have had great success on Thursday night games. It speaks volumes about where our program is and what the BIG EAST and national people think of us.