Football: Sunday Practice Quotes
ORLANDO, Fla. - West Virginia University Champs Sports Bowl Coach Bill Stewart and Player Quotes:
Coach Bill Stewart
on the senior class and their last practice at WVU
Our senior class has just been outstanding. You take young men like our skill men Noel Devine and Jock Sanders, our linebackers like Pat Lazear, Anthony Leonard and J.T. Thomas, Scooter Berry and Chris Neild on the line, and Eric Jobe as a guard on the offensive line – they’ve just been tremendous role models and leaders for this football program, our University, and certainly for the people of West Virginia.
Morgantown is a very unique and great place to come as a young man, and to go from young manhood into manhood. It’s just been fantastic how these guys have grown as seniors. Most have been here for four or five years, and it’s just been really neat to see these young men grow.
We hate it. We’d like to keep those guys around for another year, but it is what it is. Life marches on, and so do these seniors. I hope they go out with a bang. I hope each senior has a banner day and a fantastic finish. We’re going to win the football game the best way we can, and hopefully these seniors will have a big, big part in it.
on his message to his seniors
I told them to hustle up, and they said it was the same old Stewart. I’ve been here driving them.
They (the seniors) will play hard. The last four weeks of this season, our senior class stepped up and played, and they hit the ball out of the park. What they have done for this program, the University and the people of West Virginia should be remembered forever. This is a senior class that has shown nothing but great resolve and great. When people were knocking us and trying to separate us and bust us within, our seniors didn’t buy into it, didn’t want to hear it and stayed focused. They stuck with the Mountaineer work ethic which they believe in, and they have done a great job.
on the seniors from Florida playing with too much emotion
They have gotten better. When Jock and Noel were freshmen and played at USF, it wasn’t a good outing. It was a rough night. They were just trying to do too much. I though last year in the Gator Bowl, we were trying to do too much. Florida State only recruited one of my guys. I think everyone was trying to prove too much.
They just want to play a game on Tuesday. We want to stay within the framework of our offense, defense and special teams, and keep in mind that it’s just a game. It just happens to be in Florida.
on the windy weather affecting the special teams’ preparation
We’re going to prepare today, still. I told them (the video crew) that I’m going to watch them on the lifts – I don’t like that.
We have to kick (today) because we were inside for all of our work in Morgantown; we couldn’t get out on the field, because it was so cold and snowy. We were hoping to get out down here, and now we have this weather. We kicked yesterday. It will be OK.
on the progress of Pat Miller’s play this year
He’s gotten better, as has Brodrick Jenkins. Hopefully, we’ll have our Swat 40 team in there, too, where we’ll have our safeties up as linebackers. The biggest thing for this game, in my opinion, is that we have to keep them from big gains on first down. With Russell Wilson, they can’t be first and 10, first and 10, and get into a rhythm. He’ll run us right out of the park. We have to get them out of rhythm. If we do that, then we get a chance to play more of our speed guys, which will help guys like Pat or Brodrick cover their tall receivers.
It’s big time important (for Pat and Brodrick to step-up). It’s crucial. Those receivers are bigger and taller than our guys. From what I’ve seen, they look faster than our guys. I don’t think anyone will give us a chance come Tuesday. We’ll see. We’ll play.
on NC State’s defense
They come at you. Here’s the biggest problem I see with them – if their front seven can get to us before we can get the ball to our playmakers in space, then they will be very successful. If we can keep those guys from getting to us and get the ball in the flat to Jock and Tavon (Austin), I don’t think those guys can tackle them. That’s going to be the key. We can also pop them with our run game if they loosen a little. Geno has to run the football for us to be successful, and he will run the football. What you’ve seen over the last four games is what you’re going to see Tuesday night.
Defensive back Pat Miller
on the NC State offense attacking his side of the field
They are going to do what they do. I just need to be ready and do what I do. I’m going to be prepared, do what we’ve been doing in practice and make plays.
on experience he gained in his last start against Maryland
To me that was a learning process. Now I know that they’re going to make plays. Everyone makes plays. I’m going to try not to make a big deal out of it.
on his confidence growth
It’s way higher. At first, I played a little as a freshman – I was on and off the field. I got a lot more playing time this year. I think I’ve improved each and every week and gotten more comfortable with the people I’m playing with.
Running back Noel Devine
on his mindset heading into his final game as a Mountaineer
This is just a homecoming. It’s about coming out and playing football and just enjoying every minute of it.
on his health
My mindset is just on playing football. I’m going to play.
on playing his final game in his home state of Florida
It’s like a homecoming. We’re going to come out and throw a party on these guys and play our best. This time has just been about bonding with my team and enjoying our last few days together. I’ve been speaking to the younger guys and telling them how it is and that they need to keep the tradition going. They need to be Mountaineers and work hard.
Offensive lineman Cole Bowers
on starting the game
It’s bittersweet. It’s a little different situation than before when I started. Then, Josh (Jenkins) went down, and I stepped up. I proved myself in that game and I’m looking to do the same again.
on the confidence he gained after playing at LSU
I just know that I have to go out there every game and get after it.
on his expectations for the game
Defensively, they are a strong front. Their linebackers are really good. They get off the block really well.
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