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A Different Side of Stew After Victory


September 29, 2008

It was nice to see West Virginia get back on track Saturday after two straight disappointing road losses.

But what was even more pleasing, to this writer at least, was seeing a somewhat different side of Bill Stewart at the post game press conference.

Stewart, who has been criticized heavily by the media and fans alike, made it a point to clear up some statements made about his character and the way he prepares his team.

During his radio show this past week, Stewart was criticized about whining about losing certain players from last year's team. It seemed to have eaten at the coach after a couple nights of sleeping on it.

"I've never whined in my life," he bluntly said.

"Anybody that has ever known me, ask them if I ever whined. Never whined, I just made a statement that 60 percent of our offense was gone due to graduation or going out early.

"So, I'm quite as sharp as some of you guys in here (press), so maybe I'll figure it out eventually. But we're going to do it one step at a time.

"We're going to learn to crawl, then we'll learn to walk, then we'll learn to jog and then we'll learn to run. We're not ready to run right now.

"This program is in as good as shape as it has been in years, and it's going to be just fine."

Although the defense played well for a second straight contest, Stewart was admittedly unhappy with some penalties on that side of the ball.

The coach made it clear that the mistakes weren't caused by preparation, or lack there of.

"I'm frustrated with the defensive guys not staying onside on third and seven, third and thirteen, or third and what ever when we blitzed. You've got to key the ball.

"In practice they get mad at me because I tell them 'put your hand behind the line' and I run 'em (when they don't do it). They think I'm such a softy around here, I run 'em until they strain. Then I put 'em on the stadium steps. That's why I do what I do, I run 'em hard to make sure they key the ball and do what they're supposed to do.

"Couple times today they didn't do that and it's going to get corrected, because I'm going to run them again - I'll put 'em on the steps again."

Stewart has received much if not all of the blame for WVU's so-so start.

It may or may not be his fault, but the one thing he deserves is a chance to prove that he's capable of getting the job done.

Stewart has proved he can do one thing WVU's last superstar coach could not - tell the truth.



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