Stew's Views: Day 10 (The Mullen Edition)

After the morning session of Tuesday's two-a-days, WVU's head coach was replaced at the microphone by the Mountaineers' offensive coordinator for the team's daily press conference.

Second-year assistant Jeff Mullen stepped behind the dais and gave a quick recap of the action thus far on Day 10 of fall camp.

After preaching physicality to the team on Monday (and using plenty of hard-hitting drills to go with it), head coach Bill Stewart had the team in shorts once more for a lighter practice in the morning.

"We had a nice practice this morning - very crisp, very clean," Mullen said. "It was one of those no-padded practices after a day of contact."

"We worked on blitz-pickup by doing the little things. We also had a nice two-minute drill. That's something you like to do in the morning. We need to work on clock situations. Both the players and the coaches understand the importance."

While the West Virginia players may have gotten a respite from the contact in the morning, Mullen said that break would be brief as he attempts to bring a tougher mentality to the offense.

"One of the things that we've been preaching this entire camp is a physical toughness on offense," he said. "It's something we will get better at, but we've done a nice job so far. The beautiful thing is we get to go out again this afternoon and put pads on."

  While Mullen's unit may have struggled against the WVU defense in Saturday's scrimmage, he said that the offense is considerably further along at this point than it was at the same time last season.

"It's not even close," he said. "Our coaches and players all feel a sense of understanding."

"The young guys are still a little sloppy, so we need to make sure we limit what we call and get them better at what they're good at."

Some of the struggles of the younger players may stem from the rapid-fire approach to installing the offense in the first week. After those initial five days of throwing the entire playbook at the newcomers, Mullen and his staff are taking the opportunity now to re-teach those concepts in smaller, easier-to-digest doses.

"We were able to put the whole package in in five days," Mullen said. "We pushed them really hard mentally the first five days, and now we're breaking it down in to little parts. Once we get closer to the Liberty game, we'll see the whole picture again."

Seeing his players in a "live-action" situation during Saturday's scrimmage may have helped Mullen better recognize their weaknesses and, thus have a better understanding of just what to focus on in the second week of camp.

"Overall, Saturday's scrimmage was situational, and I think we did a decent job," he said. "Where I was most disappointed was in the small things. We had some cadence issues, some (where to) line-up issues and some hand-off issues. Those are the things you need to clean up. When you can focus in on those things, you get better."

With that philosophy in mind, Mullen is instituting a "back-to-basics" approach with the offense this season. It's why the entire system was installed in five days and why the coach said he won't try to make things any more complicated for his players.

"Offensively, you have to think before you react, and sometimes that process makes you slow down a bit," the coordinator and quarterbacks coach said. "No question, that's a process of learning a system."

"I have to be careful because I don't want to mess things up and put too much in. We need to go back to playing fast. I think fighting the urge to implement more is the right way to go with this group. I think working backwards and helping them play hard and fast is the way to go."

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