MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University football coach Bill Stewart likened spring practice to that of being a great chef, saying adding a dash here and a pinch there may make for a better taste. But it's a missing ingredient that will make the difference whether the Mountaineers become hamburger or a juicy T-bone.
"There are all kinds of ingredients in every recipe," Stewart said following the Mountaineers' first day of spring drills.
"Our recipe today was pride, passion and discipline. You can't have anything without those ingredients. But the main ingredient is still missing."
Stewart said he is searching hard through the spice rack that is the WVU roster to find that one special person to make him go, "voila."
"We need leadership in the worst way," he said. "We need the seniors to step forward. They are doing a good job, but there aren't that many of them. You don't have to be a senior to lead."
Stewart pointed out the successes achieved by the University's two basketball teams this year, saying "you can see what chemistry and leadership can do."
"Our chemistry is good, and our leadership is good," the coach said. "They are all good, but nothing near great. I'm not pleased with that at all. Chemistry and leadership are first and foremost on both sides of the ball."
Stewart did say he was pleased with the progress sophomore-to-be quarterback Geno Smith is making in his return from a broken bone in his foot. He said if Smith is healthy enough to play in the April 30 Gold-Blue game, "he won't be hit."
"I want to do as much in spring practice as they want me to do," said Smith. "I will do what my team needs me to do and as much as the trainers say I can do."
In Smith's absence, Coley White has been leading a thin platoon of quarterbacks.
"I thought Coley White threw the ball better than I anticipated, which was good," Stewart said.
The Mountaineers will practice again in shorts only on Wednesday. They are scheduled to don full pads in Saturday's workout.