Stew's Views: Day 11

As spring practice progresses, head Coach Bill Stewart seems to be more and more pleased with the efforts of his team. After Wednesday's afternoon scrimmage, which wrapped up week three of West Virginia's spring session, Stewart had both good and bad things to say about his team's effort, but overall positive evaluations reigned.

"The scrimmage ran a little longer than I have first anticipated and the reason was that there was a lot of good," admitted Stewart. "There was a lot of good on both sides. Funny things happened on Mountaineer Field today. Defensively, I thought that they had a pretty banner day. The defense was getting after them (today.)"

The offense struggled at times against the defense, but there were a few offensive highlights. Senior quarterback Jarrett Brown threw a solid pass to senior wide receiver Wes Lyons in the end zone for a touchdown, which was one of the biggest offensive plays of the day.

"I did like Jarrett Brown's touchdown pass to Wes Lyons," said Stewart. "I thought that was a big play. We have been looking for that big play out of our wide (receiver) guys. That was good."

The praise for Brown was nothing new. The senior quarterback has been West Virginia's most consistent offensive threat this month, and when given time by the offensive line his throws have been on the money. While he hasn't been perfect (Brandon Hogan had an interception during Wednesday's action), he has, the vast majority of the time, been everything the coaching staff has expected.

The defense, however, has taken advantage of nearly every opportunity it has gotten, and Hogan's pick was indicative of WVU's defensive nature this spring.

"Brandon Hogan made a nice pick," said Stewart. "I told David Lockwood after the game ‘Man that was nice to see.' It was good to see Brandon Hogan break on that ball. He came out of nowhere. It was a big play by No. 22."

Wednesday brought the Mountaineers' first chance to practice two minute drills under the supervision of officials. Stewart was pleased for his players to get that experience, and again Brown was the star. "Doing (two minute drills) with Big East officials was good," said Stewart. "We put the clock on there. Jarrett Brown came out and he was absolutely on fire. He hit an out route to Alric Arnett and threw the out route and hit Bradley Starks. There was some really good football. I was proud overall of how the offense fought back."

Stewart admitted Wednesday that he has put some obstacles in front of his players this spring in order to test their stamina.

"I would like to compliment the guys on how they played," said Stewart. "We have driven these guys. I have done this for a reason. I am tired of noon games and Mountaineers not being able to wake up and play at noon. So we're going to do things at 6:00 a.m. They are going to learn that if it is midnight, 6:00 a.m. or 4:00 in the afternoon when you have a chance to drop gloves like they do in hockey; it's time to drop gloves. You put on the old gold and blue and you play football. They have to play rain or shine, home or away, noon or midnight. That's why we're doing what we're doing. We've had a hard stretch."

Stewart hasn't been reluctant to point out areas of concern, however. He admits that the offensive line still has improvement to make, and that placekicking remains "50-50" at best. There are counterbalancing bright spots, though, that make him optimistic over the things he has seen so far.

"I'm a little excited about our defense, but I'm not at all pleased with the offense. We have to get tougher with our pass blocking, and we have to get our running game established - especially in the red-zone. I'm particularly pleased with the play of our quarterback and the wide receivers."

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