Football: Coach Stewart Teleconference


by Shannon McNamara for MSNsportsNET.com
October 18, 2009

First and foremost, I would like to start with a very sincere, heartfelt condolence statement by the Mountaineer football staff, and most importantly the team and the whole West Virginia nation, to the situation up with the UConn football family.

To Jasper Howards’ family in Florida, to Coach Randy Edsall and his coaching staff and to all of Jaspers’ teammates – we are absolutely heartbroken for you.

We are just stunned, as the nation is, regarding what happened on that campus in the early morning hours today after such a tremendous game he played yesterday (at Louisville).

I remember Jasper from last year. I haven’t seen a snap from this year, except his playmaking highlights from yesterday prior to our game. I remember him leading the BIG EAST in punt returns and him as an absolute terror on special teams. He looked like a leader and emotional, fun-loving guy.

I’m just sick for Randy and Jasper’s family. My god, how short and sweet life is and what we take for granted.

This has been weighing heavily in our hearts. Your West Virginia players are visibly upset at this time. They knew this man. I will certainly address this situation today and the short, but wonderful life of Jasper Howard.

I don’t have much to say on the Marshall game. We have watched the film and met as a staff. We have five wonderful recruits in with their families, and it’s a very hectic weekend.

Anytime you can win a football game against a winning, IA, 4-2 football team is good. That team is on the rise. Mark Snyder has that Marshall football team on the rise. Let me assure you, he and his staff’s diligent patience and planning made yesterday’s game possible. His players are buying in. That was very good to get that tough game behind us, and I’m proud of our players.

We have a tough game coming up this week. I don’t know how this week will go or how this poor tragedy will affect everything. We’ll have to talk about that later because I am not mentally prepared to right now. I can’t imagine what Randy is going through. I’m visibly shaken by this situation, and I don’t have a whole lot to say today.

(on team’s health)
We’re pretty healthy. I don’t know anything about Jarrett (Brown) except that we met with Dave Kerns this morning, and we all seem to think that he will be day-to-day. I don’t know if he will play this weekend or not. We will have to see. He won’t practice today, and we’re just going out in helmets and vests. What’s that tell you? That’s not good.

Everyone else seems to be healthy. Ryan Clarke should be back in full force. He could have played, but I don’t want to get a lad hurt when I don’t think we have to play him. Believe me, there were times when we wanted to play him yesterday.

(on Scooter Berry)
He got leg whipped; I don’t know what is going to happen with him. Poor kid has just been hobbled this season. We’re going to have to wait and see. He’s been at both treatments this morning.

(on slow start vs. Marshall)
(Brown) going down on the fourth play was the reason. I wish I had a magic wand that I could have waved to make us play like we did in the second half, but we’re not as good as people think, and I’m not as a good a coach as people think, and I’m sorry I didn’t get our game going on all four gears like I should have.

(on chance of all BIG EAST teams using backups this coming weekend)
Wow, I didn’t know that! I knew Cincinnati might. I don’t even know who the five are because all I watch is the next opponent.

I know UConn has good quarterbacks in both Cody (Endres) and Zack (Frazer). I haven’t seen any of that film yet.

That’s what is happening to college football. It’s a physical game, and people get hurt. You just have to carry on and march.

(on preparing your backup quarterback)
This is what I do – I always go five plays with the first team, and three plays with the second. You have to get that in, at least. There are many days when we get more than that, because we go back and repeat. To me, you have to work them both. I will never split them, because they don’t play 50 percent of the time. We go five and three. That’s what I do, and that’s why our second team is capable of going in and playing.

When I was with pro football in Canada, and the NFL does this too, they go 90 to 10 – first team 90 percent, second team 10 percent. You can’t coach college ball like that because these guys get hurt. When the pro quarterbacks get hurt, you see what happens to them.

I always have done it, and that’s how I’ll keep doing it. Other times I have done drills two-to-one, so the first team gets every two of three. I’m always going to give the first team the brunt of the work, but you have to get the second team too. That’s why are second team isn’t slugs when they go in there.

(on Geno Smith’s play)
The throw he made to Noel Devine in the flat was about the third or fourth read – that was colossal. The throw to Will Johnson on the short yardage was a laser - catches it, out of bounds, first down.

Just think of some of the throws this kid made. The one to Wes Lyons? My god, this kid didn’t panic. He didn’t panic at Auburn either. And that touchdown to (Alric) Arnett was just special.

He played pretty good.

(on the hit on Brown)
I’m going to have to plead the fifth. That is something that is going to be discussed in other venues. But thank you for asking that, because now the point has been made.

(on what will happen with the UConn game)
We will do whatever needs to be done. It’s been a rough morning. I balled this morning. I’ve met with one of my superiors. I’ve been in conversation with my two immediate bosses. We’ve discussed some gestures we’re going to do, and we’re going to have a call with the BIG EAST soon.

I’m very good friends with Randy. I can’t imagine what that football family and the Howard family is going through.

We have some measures we’ve discussed, and we want to make sure we clear everything through the proper BIG EAST channels. There have been serious and heartfelt conversations by the Mountaineers already this morning regarding this tragedy.

Let’s wait and see and let the universities talk.

I’m very proud of our football team. I love each and every one of them dearly. This is when it’s a time of family and hanging in there as a group is important. We have to realize how lucky we are to live in this great world.




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