Football: Coach Stewart Teleconference

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • November 28, 2010 02:20 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - WVU football coach Bill Stewart quotes from Sunday's teleconference.

Opening Statement
First and foremost, let me begin by saying the reports of my retirement are greatly exaggerated. In fact, you’re hearing it directly from me, Bill Stewart - I have no intention of walking away. I’m not focusing on retirement. Lastly, and most importantly, I’m focusing on Rutgers.

We had a very good win last week (at Pitt) – that was a dandy. This staff and I, together, are keenly focused on Rutgers. I’m very proud of my team because we are working as one – one pulse, one heartbeat, one team.

Lastly, and most importantly, no player on this team has any intention of being the team’s weak link.

All of my thoughts and my focus are on round seven and game No. 12. I’d be very happy if we won this game.

on the WVU-RU game being at noon
I don’t really care. I did not watch one snap of the Connecticut-Cincinnati game. I have about 10,000 witnesses that saw me at the Morgantown-Martinsburg football game. I was there with my son (Blaine).

I don’t really care if I see one snap of the UConn-USF game Saturday night. If we beat Rutgers, we are BIG EAST champs, and that was our goal. The rest of that stuff is for others. My focus is Rutgers.

on the importance of Brandon Hogan’s interception
It was really big. I didn’t feel that we were flying around, defensively. I know we got some picks and strips, and I’m really proud of that. We did not start well. Our first 25 plays looked like we were in slow-motion, and Pitt looked faster than us, and I knew they weren’t faster than us. It just looked like we were trying to do too much.

When Brandon made that pick, I thought that it was a play that was going to come back to haunt Pitt, and it did. It gave us momentum. It was a big lift for us.

on whether he will watch the UConn-USF game with great interest
In all honesty, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can tell you what I did this past Saturday, and I did not watch one snap of the UConn-UC game. It doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters to me, this staff and these players is worrying about Rutgers and our business. We can’t worry about others’ business. I’m going to keep pounding that into these players’ heads, and I will run them up Law School Hill if I hear any talk come out of that locker room.

on using the option in the WVU offense in the future
We finally got this offense clicking in the 2008 Car Care Bowl win. That’s how we’ve evolved it.

I like what we’re doing with the two big backs. I like what I’m seeing from Shawne (Alston) and (Ryan) Clarke. I really like Matt Lindamood being able to come out and play some fullback as well. I’m starting to like this look.

What I saw Friday is that they (Pitt) had trouble just tackling our guys – they (Alston and Clarke) are two big, 200-plus pound men. That’s a pretty good deal. Then, you still have Brad Starks, Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders out there.

We won’t lose anyone next year except Jock, Noel (Devine) and (Eric) Jobe. I think the future is very bright. Also, we’ll have our quarterback back for the first time in three years. We’ve had three years in this offense with three different quarterbacks. I’d challenge anyone in this country to do that.

If we win Saturday, that will be three straight nine-win seasons with three different quarterbacks.

on Chris Neild’s hamstring
He’s going to be OK – he’s not going to be great. I couldn’t see what happened Friday. He was straining – he had the girth of two men on him. (Coach) Kirelawich saw it. (Athletic trainer) Dave (Kerns) says it’s a third-degree injury – not too serious. All indications say he will play this Saturday, and he should be able to play well.

We need to win this game (Saturday). Every waking moment of my life over the next six days will be focused on beating Rutgers. We’re on a mission and we don’t want any weak links. I’m not going to let anyone tear my team or my staff apart.

All I want to do is focus on Rutgers – we will have no weak links.

on the WVU offense against Pitt
Last year, with Noel, he got banged up here and there and we stumbled. In the bowl game (vs. Florida State), our defense couldn’t get them off the field and we couldn’t win. That frustrated me.

Noel is a different back from Shawne, Ryan and Matt.

We need to have a big-back approach and a two-back approach. I like what we’re doing – it’s hard for our guys to get tackled. Also, we still have three wide outs with those two in the backfield. If you take one of them out, and you put a tight end in, and you put Tavon in the back and run him, he also can run away.

What you’re seeing is what we’re trying to evolve into. Noel is going to graduate, and he’s having trouble with his jump step. We had to get away from him and get those two big backs in. What you saw Friday we tried at UConn, but we fumbled the ball away. That’s what I’d like to evolve to.

on the coaching staff adapting to all of its offensive weapons
Here’s what has happened – from Syracuse on, everyone has blitzed us unmercifully, except for UConn and Pitt. We’re going to see it (the blitzes) again this week. We may be held to low points against Rutgers this weekend. We may catch them like others have, and we’ll be off and running down the field and everyone will be happy.

I don’t know if we’re good enough to catch them in their blitzing schemes. We may struggle often – I hope not. I’m going to challenge the guys to catch them and burn them. It’s going to be a tough battle for us.

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