Stew's Views: Big East Teleconference Week 1

With only days remaining before the season-opener against Liberty, WVU's head coach joined the weekly Big East Conference coaches' teleconference to talk to the national media about where his team stands less than a week from beginning regular season play in earnest.

The following is a transcription of the questions and answers from that teleconference:

  • Opening Statement:

    West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart: "We had a very interesting camp. We'd certainly like to think we got a lot of things accomplished."

    "We tried to be more physical. We have a young offensive line as everybody knows, and we thought we'd better try to go out and toughen them up as best we can, and we did that. We hit a lot. I'm sure the fellas are glad that camp is over now that school is back in."

    "Jarrett Brown had a very good camp. He was very sharp and didn't turn the ball over, although it's very tough not to do that against our defense. He's doing a well-rounded job of managing the football."

    "I thought Noel (Devine) had a good camp. I thought our young backs -- we were without some big backs last year, but now with Ryan Clarke, Ricky Kovatch and Will Johnson -- some of these lads are a year older and a year stronger and a year bigger, and that was good. We worked on some of our problems last year in short-yardage."

    "Our receiving corps did a nice job the entire camp, and I'm very pleased with how far they've come. That includes our tight end Tyler Urban."

    "Defensively, we're flying around. Man, they were tough all camp. We're fast. We're not real, real big as people know, but we played with good enthusiasm the entire camp."

    "Special teams is still a question. We just haven't done it out in front of anyone in the arena."

    "We came out relatively injury-free. We hope and pray we can continue that. I'm real proud of how hard our young men worked."

  • Question: What was the reason for the movement along the offensive line during camp?

    Stewart: "We did it just to find the right combination. We found that."

    "I played on the offensive line years ago and coached it for 20-plus years. I was asked the question, ‘Shouldn't they be gelling?' Well, no, they shouldn't be gelling because I'm not going to have them gel until we get to the best five."

    "I said it the other day in the paper. If Jarrett Brown doesn't play well, our No. 2 quarterback will play. That's how we do things here. Everyone is just kind of looking at the offensive line because they're so young, but they'll be fine."

  • Question: How do you pick which FCS games you'd like to play? What do you get out of starting the season by playing an FCS team?

    Stewart: "I don't want to be arrogant or bold, but I do get to pick them now that I'm the head coach. I don't get all the say, but I do get some input."

    "I'm partial to the state of Virginia. We recruit Virginia. I coached down there. I'm proud that we're playing Liberty."

    "I'm leery of them. They were 10-2 last year and I showed special teams film yesterday to our players and staff, and they walked away with a different respect (for them)."

    "I like the Virginia schools because we recruit there and I want to play those types of schools. We have Norfolk coming in. We have Coastal (Carolina) coming in -- Dave Bennett is a friend of mine. We want to get Jimmye Laycock and William and Mary."

    "These are the schools we want to play because we recruit there, and I like the Virginia league and I like the way they play. And I'm a good fan and friend of Danny Rocco, so I asked if they'd like to play us. That's how we pick them."

    "I include Liberty just like I do Auburn, Colorado and East Carolina. Those four teams will get us prepped -- and Marshall comes up after the Syracuse game -- those teams get us prepped for Big East play."

    "It doesn't matter if one is a I-AA or we start with whomever. It's just a non-conference opponent. Hopefully what happened last year with Villanova (offense) being on the field for 95 snaps won't happen this year."

  • Question: I know the preseason rankings generally aren't worth the paper they're printed on (Stewart laughed heartily, said, "You said that! I didn't!") -- but as a league, do you find it disheartening that there was no representation in the preseason (Top 25 polls)?"

    Stewart: "I have pounded the table, and I'm going to say this one more time -- our league, we're the black-and-blue league. We're tough and physical. You'd better be tough and physical if you want to play in the Big East."

    "We've won over 75 percent of our games (against) outside competition in the last three years -- that's the first fact. Second fact: we're 12-4 in bowls in the last 16. I believe that's over the last three years. Third fact: we're 3-1 in our last four BCS games. That's 75 percent."

    "I don't know and I don't care -- someone called me today from New York, irate that the Times said, 'The Big East this, the Big East that.' That doesn't matter anymore. I'm proud to be in the Big East. I'm honored to coach in the Big East. Our players, every time we go outside the league, we carry the Big East banner with pride. That's it in a nutshell."

  • Question: That resume you just rattled off -- don't you think that would count for something?

    Stewart: "(Laughs) You'd think. But I'm not a voting member. I don't vote. I don't do any of that stuff, and I'm certainly not a journalist. I'm not nearly intelligent enough to be that."

    "I can only tell you I don't know why we get hammered. I guess everybody thinks we're just a basketball league. They're full of baloney."

    "I liked what Jimmy Leavitt said about it. (People said) we didn't win any big bowl games last year. I don't have to brag because Jim Leavitt took up for us and said, 'Hey, daggone, West Virginia's win over North Carolina was pretty good.' We just hang together and we're all going to take it." "When we go out to play, every Big East team outside of conference play, I'm rooting for them."

  • Question: What has impressed you most about Jarrett Brown's play this fall so far?

    Stewart: "Managing the football. He's not turned the ball over."

  • Question: What are your impressions of Liberty's program from watching film on them? What about your relationship with Danny Rocco over the years?

    Stewart: "Very proudly, I'll talk about Danny. I'm impressed with Liberty's speed. I'm impressed with their size."

    "We had a meeting yesterday -- we're off today because it's a Monday class day. We practiced yesterday. I went out before we went out on the field and showed the guys film of Liberty's special teams and their jaws dropped."

    "I said, 'Let me tell you -- they're third in the nation in punt return, 12th in kickoff return. You'd better have your "T"s crossed and your "I"s dotted.' And I mean that. They're going to be a tough, tough opponent. I consider them just like Villanova last year, where we couldn't get off the field -- 95 snaps, like I already said."

    "Danny Rocco is a class act, comes from a great football family and is a tremendous man of faith. He's a man I've been to midnight Mass with back when we were at the (2003 Continental) Tire Bowl when he was at Virginia and I was an assistant here. I'm proud to call Danny Rocco my friend and I'm glad he's coaching football in America."

  • Question: Rich Rodriguez is having a tough press conference this morning, an emotional one...

    Stewart: "(Cutting him off) Next question."

  • Question: Are you serious?

    Stewart: "I'm talking about West Virginia football today."

  • Question: Could you outline your game week plan -- how many hours you spend working out through the week?

    Stewart: "We're in the game mode right now. Sunday we watch film and do a workout. We do it like the NFL, get the soreness out and run a little bit."

    "We were on the field one hour yesterday, had a nice team meeting. We had four young men accept their full scholarship awards. That was nice. The team got in a good mood. We went out and had a nice practice and a nice dinner."

    "Today we're off because of classes, then we hit full pads Tuesday. It's helmets and shoulder pads Wednesday. Thursday's a light practice. Friday's a walkthrough. Then we tee it up Saturday. Then we start the whole thing over. It's the same thing we've always done."

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