Focus On ECU

The West Virginia Mountaineers took care of business at home on Saturday against a lesser opponent, beating Villanova 48-21 and avoiding the upset headlines.

The same cannot be said for Virginia Tech, which lost Saturday to West Virginia's next opponent, East Carolina. WVU head coach Coach Bill Stewart highlighted aspects of the game against Villanova and made it clear that the focus now is on East Carolina.

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Coach Stewart once again gave praise to quarterback Patrick White, who threw for five touchdowns in the game on Saturday. White set career highs in pass attempts and completions and looked extremely comfortable throwing the ball in the pocket, making good on the promises to throw the ball downfield more often.

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Although Stewart would have liked for the offense to take more snaps and control the clock more on offense, he said that his team was simply taking what the defense gave them.

"We kept telling our guys that if they are going to keeping putting eight and nine men in the box we are going to continue to throw the ball," Stewart said.

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Stewart also had high praise for slot receiver Jock Sanders, who acquitted himself well in the first game. Sanders snared two touchdown passes and was effective running the ball as well, carrying twice for 28 yards. Sanders caught a team high eight passes and proved to be a legitimate weapon in the Mountaineer offense. Stewart also noticed the play of Alric Arnett, who also caught two touchdown passes.

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On the defensive side of the ball Mortty Ivy was the standout player. Ivy recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. Accroding to Stewart, however, it is Ivy's leadership that sets him apart.

"Mortty brings great leadership to the team as well as athleticism being a former quarterback in high school and he really played well for us on Saturday," Stewart said.

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J.T. Thomas also had a big game both on defense and on special teams. He recorded two sacks, blocked a punt, broke up a pass and had six tackles in a standout effort. Thomas has been a star in practices, and the coaching staff has been high on his athletic ability. "J.T. is fast as lightning out there, he is a 4.5 guy playing linebacker and he also had a really good game," Stewart said.

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Notably missing from the linebacking corps was Reed Williams. Stewart is erring on the side of caution with Williams and his surgically repaired shoulder.

"What percent is he at right now is the question, he can play and has the green light to play but we are not going to rush anyone back the field," Stewart said. Williams' playing status is still uncertain for the East Carolina game this weekend.

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The focus of the coaching staff will now turn to thePirates, who are fresh off the upset victory over Virginia Tech. (That might not turn out to be an upset as the season plays out, however.) Stewart knows all too well about how tough an opponent East Carolina is, and in particular how talented their quarterback, Patrick Pinkney, is.

"Pinkney is poised and throws some good balls and even though they were down 14-0 in that game against Virginia Tech he still moved the ball up and down the field which says a lot I think," Stewart said.

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Stewart said that to win against East Carolina it will be critical to slow Pinkney and force him out of his comfort zone. In the meeting between the teams last year, Pinkney was held to just 43 yards through the air. The Mountaineers will need to repeat that kind performance to have success against what appears to be another underrated Pirate squad.


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