"We very much respect this Louisville team. They played very well against Cincinnati and its going to be a chore for us this weekend traveling to their place," Stewart said adding that he was particularly impressed with the play of quarterback Hunter Cantwell as well as the Cardinal defense.
"They have a great quarterback and their defense is really playing well right now. They are flying around and making a lot of plays," Stewart said.
For the Mountaineers, a major area of concern the entire season has been special teams -- kickoff coverage in particular. It's a sore subject for all concerned, but Stewart noted that he and his staff have worked diligently to correct the problems on that squad, which ranks last in the nation.
"We tinkered with the scheme a little bit this week and changed some people so we hope that will correct the problems we have been having," Stewart said. Ace Jim Lewis is expected to return this week from a broken foot, and it is hoped that his presence, along with the modifications and other personnel changes, will have the desired effect.
On the injury front, Stewart said the team is healthy right now with a few exceptions. Stewart said that starting center Mike Dent is still being evaluated and that more will be known on his status tomorrow. Stewart also said that receiver Wes Lyons has worked hard to get healthy and will play this weekend against Louisville.
"I am so proud of Wes Lyons. He has lived in the training room this past week and he will be ready to play this weekend," Stewart said. Stewart also mentioned that Courtney Stuart will not play, and that his presence will be missed on special teams.
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Stewart was asked how he kept the team together after getting off to an ominous start this season. He observed that many of the same principles he used when the team was 1-2 will apply now coming off a loss last week to Cincinnati.
"We just stayed the course, we have a plan and we stuck to the plan, we also have a tremendous senior class that has won a lot of games," Stewart said. Stewart again referenced the Colorado game as an important benchmark, even though the Mountaineers lost in overtime.
"That night is when we really became a football team," Stewart said, adding that the defense played really well that game. "It was also the first game that the players realized they needed to do more than just put on the Old Gold and Blue."
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Louisville has dropped their last three straight games to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Syracuse. The Cardinals are currently 1-4 in conference play and 5-5 overall. Both teams are playing for bowl positioning, although WVU's is obviously much higher up the ladder. The Mountaineers need a win to keep pace with Cincinnati, which holds a tiebreaker edge over West Virginia in the race for the Big East's BCS spot.