"That's the thing that's been very unique with Jarrett Brown. We've been in this offense now for 15 games, and for him to pick it up as quick as he has is really neat."
Indeed, while many still think of West Virginia as a team that runs a spread option offense as it did for several years under Rich Rodriguez, the "option" part of that equation has become less significant under the new coaching staff.
Coordinator Jeff Mullen's offense was truly a new one for the team to learn, and with the increased emphasis on the passing game and the addition of old "conventional" wrinkles like a bit of I-formation football, the Mountaineers' attack has become a different animal entirely than it was previously.
"I go back to what I've always said -- we didn't have answers for nine in the box, because people could match-up with our wideouts," Stewart said. "We had to change. We had to become more moldable to win big. I just felt like that was the best thing for our program."
"That's why we changed. You do have some bumps in the road. We just hope we've got those bumps ironed out a little bit. We'll see. Each opponent brings a different scenario to you, and that's when you have to be a little more moldable and adjust on the run as best you can."
That evolving attack seems to be increasingly well-suited to Brown's skill set.
"Jarrett knows where to go with the ball and when to go there with the ball," said the second-year head coach. "He's seen it. He knows what to do. He's more comfortable. Our receivers know it."
"I don't like him running it that much, but when they drop off into certain coverages, he'll run it. If he sees cover zero, which we haven't seen a lot of here (in recent years), he can get it and go. He's faster than you think, and he's a big man. He's a long-legged guy, and when he gets out there on that horizon, he's tough to get down. If you rush three and drop eight, and he sees a crack, he'll go. If he sees cover zero, he'll run it there also."
ON AUBURN PREPARATION:
The Mountaineers are following their regular weekly schedule in preparations for their trip to The Plains to take on the Tigers this weekend.
"We practiced (Sunday), today is a class day and a day for us to really hit (the film) hard as coaches," Stewart said. "We had a nice practice last night. We're getting the basics down of what we think we need to accomplish this week. We're preparing to go down to Auburn and play."
WVU's first game away from home this season will come in one of the biggest venues it has played a true road contest in for quite some time. Jordan-Hare Stadium holds over 87,000 fans and is the 12th largest arena in college football.
"It's supposed to be very, very loud," Stewart said. "I've never been to Auburn, but I hear it's a tremendous venue to play in. We're excited about that."
When asked about the experience AU's players may be going through as they adjust to a new system under head coach Gene Chizik (as WVU's players did in Stewart's first season last year), the Mountaineer head man chuckled.
"That hasn't hurt Auburn any," he said. "They're putting up 400 yards per game rushing, and that's pretty impressive."
"They are clicking on all cylinders right now. They are scary to watch on offense."
ON PLAYING FOR BIG EAST CONFERENCE PRIDE:
While West Virginia's nationally-televised Saturday night game at Auburn may be the headlining game for the Big East this weekend, there are several other match-ups with teams from other BCS leagues that could give the conference some much-needed credibility.
Louisville will head about 45 minutes east across the Commonwealth to take on arch-rival Kentucky. Connecticut travels to Big 12 foe Baylor. No. 17 Cincinnati will head to Corvallis and face Oregon State of the Pac-10. Syracuse will face its third-straight Big Ten opponent when it hosts Northwestern.
Those games are a chance to continue to improve on what has been an impressive out-of-conference resume in recent years.
"(These games) are critical," Stewart said. "We were 12-4 in our last 16 bowls. We've won three out of our last four BCS bowls. We've won 75 percent of our games outside the league. It just seems like we never do enough (to earn respect)."
"I hope we win every non-conference game, and I mean that sincerely. I want to represent the Big East the best we can, and I know every other coach in this league feels exactly the same way. We're going to go out and try to do the very best we can for the Big East."