Football: Bill Stewart and Player Quotes
August 21, 2010
Head Coach Bill Stewart:
I’m excited about the way we ended camp. It was very competitive and physical. It was a seesaw battle; we did good at times, but sometimes we did not. We did a lot of hard work today. We had guys flying around, and we came out pretty good injury-wise. A few guys might wake up tomorrow and see a bump, but otherwise, we’re good.
We had a crowd of donors, it was a hot day and we couldn’t have a better script for the weather. Two years ago, we had a very cool (weather) camp, then had to go down to Greenville to play, avoided a hurricane and got a thrashing. With the heat this summer, it will help us down the road sometime.
When we played down Huntington a few years ago, wow, was that hot.
We came out of camp in good physical condition, so coaches will always be pleased with that. To be honest with you, I wish we had two more weeks of camp to get ready to go.
On the progress of fall camp: I saw both positives and negatives. While there were some frustrations on my part; in the goal line drill we do, the defense busted down the offense pretty handily. The only glaring spot I see right now is running the ball. I feel good out in the field because we’re quick, and we can spread people. When we get down in the red zone, I feel good about our movement, which can cause people problems. That’s very advantageous for us. I’m not pleased with getting off the ball quickly – we’ll be working on that again this week in pads.
On the cause of some frustrations: One guy threw the ball down upset, and so we made him run 15 steps for each yard he was penalized. I told them, “The only team that can beat you is you.” You’re beating yourself by misfiring. We’ve got to get ourselves in good field position by getting a couple of first downs and getting to at least the 25-yard line. If not, you get the ball to their side of the field and you punt it to pin them deep into their own territory. That’s why we work on that so much. I’m going to continue to do it because that’s effective football.
On Pat Lazear’s leg injury and status: Blessed. Very, very lucky. It was an inside drill with pads; Robert Sands came in, made a tackle, was spun around and leg whipped him (Pat) just below the knee. It’s a bone bruise and no ligament or cartilage damage so he’s good. He has some tenderness but should be back mid- to late-week sometime next week.
On Cole Bowers at the right tackle position: Cole Bowers and Eric Jobe give us our top six linemen. Bowers is a good fit for tackle, so we put him behind (Jeff) Braun. Big guy, young guy and hasn’t played enough yet. We’re not sure if Braun can do 85 plays for 12 games. When he needs some rest, we’ll put in Bowers. Coach Johnson is preparing his offensive line for a war in the trenches.
On helping players to stay focused: I tell the players to be careful when they’re out in public because they’re always being evaluated.
On running the ball to the right side: I’ll run left. No, we’re going the give the right side plenty of opportunities to make plays. When you’ve got Don Barclay, Josh Jenkins and Joe Madsen on the left side, you’ll go to that side naturally. But you saw when we were doing the red zone drill, plenty of plays were going to the right, and I was really please how they hung in there.
On Quinton Spain’s progress in camp: How can I miss him? He’s blocking my view out there. He pass-blocked well; he picked up a twist. When he hits you, he moves you. He’s a big and powerful man; his feet are good. He did get beat on one play, but he hits everything head-on, and he’ll get better. That’s the life for offensive linemen.
On Bruce Irvin’s play in scrimmage: He played well. He had a sack, and he’s pretty special.
On Shawne Alston: His knee bothered him a little bit so the coaches told us to keep him out today. We know what he can do, and we wanted to give Ryan Clarke a chance to play. We needed to rest him, but he’ll be just fine.
Regarding Marquis Wilson’s status: He’s allowed to practice and participate. That’s all I know at this time.
On the offense in the scrimmage: We didn’t play all of our cards, and that’s for a reason. We’ll start getting ready for Coastal Carolina on Monday.
On the play of the freshmen: There are a few of them that have caught my eye. Right now we’ve focused on what our needs are and how the new guys could contribute.
On choosing a backup quarterback: We’re still looking into it. I like the savvy of both of the youngsters (Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson). We’re going with Geno, but both of the young guys are learning to tuck the ball and run with it when they need to. I’m glad that they’re both with the Mountaineers.
On Matt Lindamood’s progress with the running game: Many people are going to be proud of him by the time he’s done with football at West Virginia. He’s tough, he works hard and I feel very confident with what he can do. You see him working hard every game, and he breaks a long run or two. It’s hard to bring him down; he’s a tough guy. He was a championship wrestler in high school, he runs well and has tremendous balance. I like Matt Lindamood.
Defensive Tackle Larry Ford:
On his progress as a defensive lineman: It’s not fun at times. I wish I could be like Chris Neild and be about 300 pounds, but I hold my own. I can’t say I don’t like it, because I’m playing. I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team.
On fall camp and progress as a defense: It’s been a very good fall camp. We’ve bonded a lot, come together as a team; we’ve got a chance to win the BIG EAST and make it to a BCS Bowl. We’ve got to approach each game like we did at fall camp and give it our all. I’d give our camp an A-plus. We got better as a team and we’re ready.
On the progress of the offense from a defensive viewpoint: Our offense is our offense. They’ve got Noel Devine, Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and all kinds of others. If they can put everything together, I think they’ll be a really good group this season.
Running Back Noel Devine:
On the performance of the offense in scrimmage: The offense did great and was moving well at the start, and we finished strong. Our team is coming together. Everybody wants to play and win. Our coaching staff and the players have grown together and improved the leadership and chemistry of our team.
On his senior year: I want to go out with a bang, play in as many games as I can. What I have to do with my leadership is step up. I want to be there for the younger guys and increase my accountability. I need to encourage the young guys and help them pick it up. School is starting and so much is going on. Camp was tough, but we got a lot done.
On the importance of field position: We have to always do our best. We have to improve on our power game and practice situations like that.
On the playbook: Things are starting to open up. We started quickly and then got sluggish after that. We have to keep going.
On backup Trey Johnson: He has a lot of heart for being a little guy like me. He has a strong heart, he can run and avoid tackles, and he’s going to be a great back in the future. He reminds me of myself when I came here. We hope to make each other better and practice around each other. I don’t think I’ve given him many pointers but just encouragement. He has a positive attitude and wants to play.
On the importance of school before football: You have to do school before you do football. It’s pretty easy to adjust to the schedule after you’ve been doing it all your life.
Safety Robert Sands:
On the crowd cheering for the offense at the scrimmage: The crowd expects the offense to put up big points. I don’t think it fazes us too much when they cheer.
On leadership: It benefits me as well to help the younger guys. It helps me to see what they see so that I can help coach them up. Then I know what to do when they ask for help on the sidelines. I’ll make some calls and then see if they’re lining up right for the play.
On defending WVU’s offense: Geno has the offense playing well. He’s getting better at changing plays to help the offense make first downs. It’s hard to disguise what we’re doing out there, because he has studied us and knows what we’re doing. It’s helping the offense and giving him practice of how to read coverages.
They always have weapons. Stedman Bailey is making tremendous catches and playing well. Geno does a good job with distributing the ball. If someone is open, he is going to find them.
On improvements over fall camp: We’ve improved a lot. We’re swarming to the ball and communicating much better with each other.
Coach Casteel expects us to not give up any plays or any yards because of how much experience we have on our side of the ball. Sometimes if a big play does happen, he trusts us that it will not happen again.
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