Stew's Views: Day 8

In Friday's address to the media, Coach Bill Stewart talked about how he wanted to see some dominating forces step up on the team. During Saturday's scrimmage, he got half of his wish.

"I finally saw someone dominate," admitted Stewart. "I saw the defense get after the offense, and the blue shirts flat got after them. I thought the blue -hirted guys played Mountaineer football for three quarters, and that's okay, in camp that's about what I expected. They played Mountaineer football, our defense, for three quarters."

The "fourth quarter" was red zone drills, where the offense held the upper hand on series that started from the eight yard line, where they would be expected to score more often than not. Still, Stewart was not as pleased with the effort on the offensive side of the ball.

"I did not see great enthusiasm or great leadership on the offensive side of the ball. I'm very disappointed in that," said Stewart. "Sometimes when those blue shirts are whacking you and attacking you like our guys came after them, that has a lot to do with it. We have a long way to go, just talked to the lads, and we're gaining, I know were gaining with every fiber in my body. Right now the day was taken by the defense for three quarters and we have a lot of work to do."

Despite his displeasure with the offense as a whole, there were some bright spots in the offense's effort in the scrimmage. Towards the end of the day, they seemed unstoppable from where Stewart calls "the gold zone" which is inside the nine-yard line. The offense racked up several scores, including TD receptions by Tyler Urban, Carme Connolly and Wes Lyons, and scoring runs by Tavon Austin and Shawne Alston.

"The fourth quarter, the offense saw an opening and whacked them good and could not be stopped down in the gold zone." said Stewart.

Freshman quarterback Geno Smith had an impressive day. Smith saw a lot of time playing backup to Jarrett Brown as he rotated with Coley White. Saturday marked the freshman's first day of practice out of his usual green "restricted participation" jersey. "I saw the kid throw some pretty nice balls," Stewart allowed. "I saw an inexperienced guy, with an inexperienced center that couldn't get a center-quarterback exchange and that displeases the head coach very, very much."

Another freshman, Tavon Austin, was impressive in the scrimmage. The running back had one touchdown run for about seven yards and showed the lightning quick moves that made him a highly-targeted recruit, but Stewart recognizes that the young running back will have to shine to get past some of the most experienced players. The plan is to get Austin ready to play at the slot position, then perhaps look at him in the backfield. He would be used in a similar manner to Jock Sanders initially, with a few carries on end arounds as well as being a target for passes

"He has flashes, but I'll tell what, he's got a guy named No. 9 (Sanders) and a guy named No. 4 (Wes Lyons) out there ahead of him," said Stewart. "He's a freshman and we'll bring him along. I hope we'll see big things out of him as the season progresses."

As the first week of fall camp wrapped up, Stewart is pleased with where his team is but as always sees a lot of room for improvement.

"We've always accomplished what we wanted to," said Stewart. "We've got our offense in, our defense in, and I would like to do better in situations, that's why we come in and scrimmage like this. I do not think we got off the goal line too bad, that wasn't bad, but short yardage, we need to address that and keep hitting at it, hitting at it. We're going to do more goal line on Monday, we'll go full pads on Monday and address that. I was very pleased with what I saw from our defense, disguising, blitzing, creating turmoil out there. I thought that was good so I'm pleased with where they are, but we lacked the knockout blow. We had them in the 12th round, and we could have gouged them, but we let them back in the fight."


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