True freshman Adam Bednarik, who finished up his high school career only a week ago, will be coming to WVU on Sunday as the number three QB in the Mountaineer rotation. And while Bednarik won't play in any games unless an emergency arises, West Virginia's coaching staff still has to prepare him as if he will play.
"I've been down at WVU working out this summer, and I'm looking forward to it," Bednarik said of the challenge that awaits him.
Stewart, his coach-in-waiting, believes that the Pennsylvania native is up to the task.
"First, Adam is a class kid," Stewart said of his soon-to-arrive signalcaller. "He can handle just about anything we can throw at him. So, we have to prepare him just like he was going to play."
Stewart plans to throw Bednarik right into the fray, but he obviously can't get so many snaps that it hinders the preparations of the offense. Stewart already has a plan laid out for preparing the precocious freshman.
"Now, we know he's third, so he's only going to get a certain number of reps," Stewart analyzed. "If you break it down, you have to give Rasheed Marshall the majority, then Charles Hales, then Adam the remainder.
"We might go two reps with Rasheed, one with Charles, two with Rasheed and then one with Adam. Then we give Charles the two and Rasheed the one, but Adam never gets the two. We have to get Charles some reps with the first team, and give Rasheed a little time with the twos. We get Adam as many reps as we can, but unless something happens to Rasheed or Charles he probably doesn't get any snaps with the ones."
That work schedule, of course, is partly caused by the cutdown on the number of two a day practices this fall. WVU is scheduled for only four double sessions this fall, so the number of on field reps could be diminished somewhat, although individual practices are scheduled to be a bit lengthier. Stewart, however, thinks that the reduced practice schedule might have some benefits.
"I think the players will get more mental work now. When you are going two a days, the players are just trying to survive from practice to practice. They're living out of their notebook and trying to catch a wink wherever they can.
"With the new schedule, they will have the chance to get in more notebook time. They'll have more meeting time. They'll have more film time. I think that's going to be advantageous for the freshmen. They'll be able to catch their breath, especially on the days we only have one practice. Two a days are hard, especially for a freshman who's away from home for the first time. It could be a blessing for them, and I'm glad they are doing it."
Like most coaches, however, Stewart does admit to being a bit concerned about having enough time to hit in the fall.
"It's less hitting, and you play football in pads. Our fans don't come out to see touch football, they come out to see football in pads. So we do worry about them being in shape to hit.
"I'm one of those Neanderthal coaches. That's how you get tough - playing in the heat and banging on each other. Maybe this will good and save us some injuries here and there. We'll see. I'm still old school, but I am happy about the mental preparation."
Head coach Rich Rodriguez, who preaches intensity and physical play, is likewise not overwrought about the two a day reductions.
"We may have to have a light practice day on Sunday, but I think it's going to work out ok. I think the trainers and the players will like it, but I think the model is something that everyone can live with."
This won't be the first time that Stewart has broken in a true freshman at the number three spot. During the 2000 season, a young prep schooler named Rasheed Marshall was number three behind Brad Lewis and Scott McBrien.
"In 2000, Rasheed travelled and did all the things that Adam will do this year," Stewart said. "And just like Rasheed Marshall, he'll do all the things that the other QBs do during game week.
"The only argument I ever had with Don Nehlen was over putting Rasheed in a game that year. I said, 'Coach, please, let's don't' and I'm glad we didn't. And I'll be the saem way with Adam this year.
"We want to make sure we don't play Adam just to play him. But travelling for Adam in 2003 will be just like it was for Rasheed in 2000. It will be very beneficial, and it will be a learning and growing experience for him. But, he won't be under fire while he's learning."