Football: Coach Stewart Teleconference
by Shannon McNamara for MSNsportsNET.com
November 8, 2009
I was very proud of our defense. We did not give up a touchdown to a BIG EAST opponent, and that’s really good. In all honesty, it came at a time when our defense might have been reeling from last week’s loss at USF.
With that being said, I looked at their (Louisville’s) scores prior to the game, and they had scored a touchdown against everyone, but they did not get a touchdown against us, and that’s really good.
Our defense covered us in this game. I’m happy about that.
Our punter, Scott Kozlowski, kept us in the game with tremendous field position.
That ball scooted out down there at the end of the game (when UofL broke out from the one-yard line), and I hate to see that happen. I believe the East Carolina game it came out then too, and that’s not like us. We practice that (backed-up situations) very hard in the spring and in fall camp. You have seen us do many scrimmages with that. Losing that field position at the two-yard line was the only frustrating thing I saw. I compliment our defense and our staff.
Offensively, we had some guys nicked. We couldn’t get into rhythm. It seemed like every time a post was open or a deep ball was open, one of our guards or tackles got beat on protection.
You have to hit on all cylinders, and that’s what I told the team after the game. I told them that the future is in our hands and we are right where we need to be.
Other than our one kick-off return, where two guys just missed a guy at the 25-yard line, I was pleased with our kicking. I was pleased with Tyler Bitancurt – his 42-yard field goal was big. I want to get him to the 20 yard line, but we missed a third-down pass and that just broke our heart. We didn’t make a play. I was going to go two downs and go for it, but we dropped the pass. That was a big call, and I got great assistance from the booth on that. Also, our kickoffs were better.
We have a short week. Every player who was supposed to be here was here at 10 a.m. today. They will be back at 1 p.m., and then we get back to our normal schedule. We are practicing tomorrow night because it is a short week.
On Cincinnati’s offense
Cincinnati is powerful; I don’t know what we are going to do. They are just potent. I look at their scores – they are averaging 40 points a game. We can’t cancel it, so we are going to have to go do the best we can.
They both should be ready. Jarrett should be ready quicker than Noel; I don’t know if Noel will play or not. He should if treatments go well.
On backup running back options
On WVU’s offense production as the season progresses
It all can’t be put on Jarrett because we’ve had some drops yesterday in crucial situations. Also, there are breakdowns along the offensive line when guys are wide open. Did Jarrett miss that crossing route? Yes. He also forced one in there. But the receiver could have come flat across the end zone instead of losing a little ground and helped him.
There are all kinds of intangibles that we are going to show these guys. We will show them how to correct it, polish it and get ready to go.
What happens is people get the book on you. They see your routes and work on that. People just play us tough – Louisville just played us tough.
On play of Jarrett Brown during his first season as starting quarterback
We will spend this week practicing as if Noel can’t play. I hope he does, and think he will.
On watching the UConn-UC game last night
On preparing for Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros
I don’t know. We’ll probably be 20-30 point underdogs.
On flow of Cincinnati offense and defending it
You bend and not break. You sometimes have to take a chance and do a little man pressure. We are going to do the very best we can.
We played them the last two years as tough or tougher than anyone else. We won a very hard-fought game there (in 2007). Last year was an overtime win for them here. We’ve played them very tough, and I think we’ll hang on and do the best we can. They are the team that everyone is talking about and they are up for the national championship. That’s really good for our league, but we have a chance to play them and we’re going to see if we can make a mark as well.
On Coach Brian Kelly’s starting quarterback decision
On play of Zach Collaros
I know Zach and I know of him and I think he’s a tremendous story. It’s exciting for him and the University of Cincinnati. We are just going to have our hands full with him.
On play of UC’s defensive line vs. the WVU offensive line
Defensively, I think they are doing a tremendous job and playing very hard. Last night, UConn got some points on them, and there have been some teams who have run the ball well on them.
We are not a big, physical grind-it-out team. That’s not our strong suit. We are more of a balanced, spread-the-wealth football team. I don’t know if our offensive line can go up and down the field on them. We are going to have to do what we do, try to spread the wealth and get the ball out on the screen, try the short passing game with a deep pass every now and then and do our very best running the football. Also, we just need to hold on to the ball.
Yesterday, we had 57 snaps. If we have 57 snaps against Cincinnati, it will be a mess.
On UC’s success and new personnel
Defensively, I don’t know the amount of snaps they have had – I don’t look at that because it doesn’t matter to me and my thinking. They have tough, good youngsters. They always have, and always will have. They were physical then, and are physical now. They are like the Mountaineers. We think we’re physical. We are just going to have to get out there and play the very best we can.
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