Stew's Views: Day 6

The sixth day of WVU's fall football camp marked the beginning of the team's twice-daily practices. Between the morning and afternoon sessions, the team's head coach met with the media to discuss the day's goings-on.

"Today (in the morning) was a situational practice," said Bill Stewart. "It was a nice two hours. We worked on blitz situations on both sides of the ball. There was very good teaching. We went through a scramble drill in case breakdowns do occur."

The team ended the first session by working on its two-minute drill in a "live" situation, pitting offense against defense. The blue-clad defenders had the upper hand in the eyes of Stewart.

"The offense did not do very well, but the defense did," he said. "We had a couple of big plays offensively, but it wasn't what it needed to be. Group two (the second-team offense) did okay against the twos (second-team defense."

Some of the offense's troubles may be tied to the fact that the even this early in camp, the entire playbook has been installed, perhaps leading to some mental overload and confusion.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen had said his unit would complete installation by the fifth day of practice, which came yesterday.

"It's all installed," Stewart said. "But there will be wrinkles (added). If we see someone do something on film down the road, we can go back to what was introduced in a certain phase or concept. It's all about concepts."

That offense has been subject to adjustments in schemes this offseason and is slightly different from what was seen on the field a season ago, according to the second-year head coach.

"We've tweaked it," Stewart said. "The guys know what they're doing. The young men have retained. Spring practice helped the guys, as well as the summer."

"We've added and implemented some (new) things, too."

The rapid-fire approach of installing the entire offense in five days can lead to some mental fatigue, but that is part of the reason the head coach and his staff opt for that method.

"Now, you find out who can retain (information)," Stewart said. "Retention is a big key, especially for the young players. You're finding out people who will not make the same mistake twice. You find out about the mental makeup of the player."

The entire team will get extra time to work in the coming days as two-a-days begin in earnest today. While Stewart said his players have full days even when there is only one practice held, things change when the on-field workload doubles.

"When you have two-a-days, it's a little faster because you don't have as much saturation time with film," he said. "You have to do it on the field, come in and watch the film (between practices), then hit the next practice. Then you do the same thing and have your night meetings in preparation for the next day."

"Physically, you have to watch them (during two-a-days). We used to beat them up in the old days. I was beaten up (as a player) and we beat them up as coaches. That's all we knew at the time. I'd like to think that the old school was tougher, but I think we're just wiser now."

The Mountaineers will practice this afternoon in full pads. Tomorrow's practices will once again be closed to the media.


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