The Mountaineers took the field Tuesday after bidding good bye to the winningest and arguably most talented senior class in West Virginia history. Although his time as a Mountaineer has passed, Patrick White was still on the minds of many, including Coach Stewart after Tuesday's practice.
"Jarrett Brown is undefeated as a starter," said Stewart. "He's not Patrick White, and he knows that. He brings a lot to the table, and he's a tremendous competitor. I hope, for his sake and ours, that he has a very fine finish to his career. This offense has a long way to go. We lost the greatest winner in college football.(Trainer) John Spiker said (White) was the most level headed guy he's ever met for all of the success he's had. (Brown) has a lot to live up to."
Although Patrick has graduated, his younger brother Coley has taken over the backup spot behind Brown at quarterback. White's arm showed obvious improvement during passing drills.
I thought Coley did a good job running the option today," said Stewart. "He needs to pick up his speed of the game – he's not on the scout team anymore. He has to get the speed of the game and the only way to do that is to get out there in the batter's box and take a couple swings. That's going to come."
Stewart worked with special teams throughout practice. Senior Scott Kozlowski practiced kickoffs and punts. All in all, Stewart was pleased with special teams on their first day back. He worked on a few different options on the kickoff team and rotated players in throughout practice.
"We had a nice day on punting," said Stewart. "We started on kickoff, day one, and had a decent start. We want to continue to be where we were in punting -- number two in the country -- and we're looking to improve on our kickoff game. (Kozlowski) has not kicked off in a game since high school. He will punt for us and kickoff for us, much like what Patrick McAfee did for us, but he won't do the field goal kicking. Jeremy Kash is doing a nice job of snapping the ball and holding."
All in all, Stewart was pleased with the first day effort. However, he sees a lot of room for improvement which will hopefully be worked out as spring practice continues.
"It was fun to see the guys come out here today, and it will be a long road to hoe," admitted Stewart. "I saw great enthusiasm, and I thought they flew around and practiced hard. We have a long way to go, and we have a lot of work to do."