Bird Happy Despite Low Yardage Output

Most wide receiver coaches would be dismayed after a 33-yard receiving output in a Division 1 game. Not so, however, with WVU wideout mentor Steve Bird after Saturday's mauling of East Carolina.

"I was really proud of them (the receivers)," Bird said after the run-dominated win over East Carolina. "I see unselfishness in them. They want to win, and they want to get downfield to block.

"When Avon got that record, everyone was cheering for him, and they were as happy for him as they were if they had been catching touchdown passes."

Such an attitude has to be gratifying to Bird, who works as hard with his pupils on blocking as he does on running and catching. The voluble coach was visibly pleased with the way the receivers reacted when it became apparent that there wasn't going to be much passing on the day.

"The receivers knew they had to get down the field and block. There was no complaining, and no griping on the sidelines," Bird recounted. "Sure, they want more catches. But they were going after a "W". And that's what they got."

As the passing game coordinator, Bird would surely like to put up some monster numbers comparable to the rushing totals that the running backs recorded against the Pirates.

However, Bird was clearly happy with the outcome of the game, and didn't give the low yardage total a second thought.

"It's a win, and that's what we came out here to do. We established something that we've been needing to do, and that's the run.

"That's what is so great about the offense. If you are going to give us the run, we'll take the run. And if you are going to give us the pass, we'll take the pass. I'll take 5 yards passing if we keep running like that!"

Although the receivers contributed several outstanding blocks in the game (Derrick Smith's pancake that freed Quincy Wilson for a 73-yard touchdown was a prime example), Bird is concerned about the penalties that have been assessed to the receivers in recent weeks. He notes, however, that its easier to rein in frisky colts that force them to run harder.

"I'd rather say 'whoa' than 'go', you know what I mean? Every now and then, if you have an aggressive group, you're going to have [a penalty]. Do we want penalties? No. But I want them to be aggressive."

An occasional penalty seems to be a small price to pay if the results continue to pour in at the avalanche-like rate they have been over the past two games.

In addition to cutting out some of the silly penalties, Bird still sees room for improvement, and doesn't want the receivers resting on their laurels.

"We've got to keep getting better. This was just one game, and we've got to keep improving. Let's see what we do next week against Maryland."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories