Head coach Bill Stewart gave one of his more energetic press conferences to date, lauding the physicality of his offense and the resiliency of his defense.
Monday's workout, perhaps more than any other this camp to date, was physical and hard-hitting.
"Today, we strapped it on," Stewart said. "We went after it. It was old fashioned football, and it was fun. You would have thought Art ‘Pappy' Lewis was back here, down at Jackson's Mill. It was fun, and good."
The physical tone, according to Stewart, was by design. With camp halfway complete, the head coach was looking to test the toughness of his troops both mentally and physically. Monday's practice was a big part of that test.
"I'm tired of hearing about shoulders, hands, this, and that," he said. "We got after it. The tempo was set today, and it was pretty intense. I liked it."
Dishing out the better of it today was Jeff Mullen's offense, thanks in no small part to the return of All-American senior tackle Ryan Stanchek. The Cincinnati native, who missed the first week of camp recovering from illness, possesses unparalleled physicality, thus his return to the playing field was sure to heighten both the volume and quality of pad poppin' taking place at Mountaineer Field.
The toughness on offense also came from the wide receivers, where a trio of veterans set a fine example for their younger teammates, said the head coach.
"Alric Arnett is sore, tired, bumped, bruised. Tito Gonzales is taking 100 snaps everyday. He just keeps going," Stewart said. "That tells me we have some mature wide receivers who are turning into pretty good players. Dorrell Jalloh, who has an (injury) history, he just keeps going. These guys are working hard."
While Stewart was certainly pleased to see the physicality out of his offense, he was none to happy with the effort from the Mountaineer defense for much of the day.
"These defensive boys better quit reading their press clippings," he said. "They got hit right in the kisser, and they got knocked on their heels. The blue shirts better quit reading what some of you astute journalists are writing about them, and better start remembering that they've got to get off blocks and make tackles.
By day's end, however, Jeff Casteel's charges reverted to their usual form, conquering the offense during goalline drills at the end of practice.
"Being the defense that they are, they responded on the goalline," Stewart noted. "I wouldn't have carried that football on the goalline drill today for love, nor money. The defense swarmed and made up for it."
The Mountaineers continue camp with a pair of practices on Tuesday.