Football: Stewart Post-Practice Remarks

  • By Grant Dovey
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  • April 13, 2011 11:50 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Head coach Bill Stewart's post-practice interview from April 13.

Opening Statement
I’ll tell you what I told the football team - it was a very brief message at the end. I send out tweets to certain friends, the team and coaches, and last week I sent one out about desire. You have to have a desire to come out to the practice field, and if that desire dominates your every thought, you’re going to get better.

Now if you’re a guy who counts practices and periods, then what I just said didn’t even work. For those guys who truly want to be great, master the fundamentals, get out here and get better, and play Mountaineer football, today was a very good day. These guys absolutely got after each other. I liked our 7-on-7 and pass rush, and I thought the team ended very well. I’m very pleased with their effort.

I do like our enthusiasm - the way we came out and went to work - and I’m proud of the way our upperclassmen are leading.

On the remaining practices
I am really pleased, and it is more of a mental thing now. We have eight practices to go and three of them are scrimmages - this Saturday, the morning of Good Friday and then the Gold-Blue game. Three of these next eight practices are team-scrimmage situations. With that being said, you have to come out to the field ready to go and I think we did.

On the leaders
Geno (Smith) has become a good leader, and I’m starting to see some linemen step up; I really like that. Tyler Urban has been a real leader in the weight room and out on the field. Stedman Bailey makes plays, and Ivan McCartney had a good day. Brad Starks got a little banged up at the end, but I thought we caught the ball really well, and that is tough out there in the mist and slight rain.

Defensively, Bruce Irvin comes off that edge like a bullet. I thought Najee Goode had a good day, and then back in the secondary I thought the guys were disguising well. They were trying to confuse our quarterback, and they did a nice job.

On defensive back Avery Williams
He seems to get targeted a lot because he is always out there covering the split end. There are going to be jump balls and slants, and he is out on an island. I thought he competed well, and we had a touchdown go over top of him. I asked David Lockwood if Tavon Austin just out-jumped him, and if you remember at Pitt, Tavon out-jumped people there, too. If you can’t get the ball at its highest point, then coming down you have to punch it out. He’s going to learn that.

On special teams
We’ve really worked hard on PAT, field goal and punt. Today was a really good day for punt. I put different looks in and different personnel, and we really stressed our punt team so I was pleased with that. Next week we’ll do kickoff return, and the last week we’ll do kickoff.

On the safeties
Right off the get-go you see Terence Garvin - he is a ball hawk. He is growing into a leadership role and is disguising better, and from what I see he is catching the ball over the receivers.

I’m really starting to like Travis Bell - he is a student of the game and he spends time in film with coach Dunlap learning the coverage. Darwin Cook and Wes Tonkery have really stepped up, so I like what I’m seeing.

On Eain Smith’s leadership role
Every drill I look at in film, I see Eain Smith in the background backpedaling and trying to work on his reads. He is a student of the game. There is nothing he can really do physically because of his shoulder surgery, but I do know he’s into it and he’s been a good leader.

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