“Football is a very tough game,” explained Stewart. “Not just banging tough, but mentally tough as well. Right now I am not pleased. I saw too many busted reps out there and the assignments weren’t crisp as I thought they should be. You get a couple of guys that get hurt and put on a red or green jersey, and suddenly leadership starts spiraling down. Leadership is the action of doing. It is the action and constantly doing that makes a good leader. Chemistry comes from those who buy in and follow and they begin to do. There was no leadership today and there was no chemistry today.”
While Stewart was quick to speak about his displeasure with some aspects of practice, not all of the head coach’s comments were negative. He was quick to compliment the efforts of players like redshirt sophomore quarterback Coley White who has continued to step in for injured quarterback Geno Smith.
“I think Coley White has done a fine job,” said Stewart. “Geno [Smith] takes every snap in [skeleton drills] and Coley takes every snap in team [drills]. I am really pleased with how he has responded. We have to get him out there and get some catches as a slot [receiver], because he wants to play that. Maybe that is where he will be and maybe not. He is doing a good job for us right now. He is doing it all. I like what I see with Coley. He can run the option, he can get up in the alley and he has made some nice throws as well. He is getting better.”
Stewart was also pleased with the efforts of sophomore fullback Matt Lindamood and sophomore running back Ryan Clarke, both of whom had a significant amount of carries during Wednesday’s practice. Clarke has shown the ability to gain tough yards in power running situations, and West Virginia's short yardage running game appears to be much improved from where it was a acouple of seasons ago.
However, Stewart seemed unhappy when talking about senior wide receiver Eddie Davis has taken to relearning the Mountaineer offense. Davis is back at receiver after spending the last two years as a defensive back. With six practices under his belt, Stewart believes Davis should be better adjusted to his new position.
“He’s going to be a journalist next year,” Stewart joked. “This is his fifth stop. He has to pick it up. This is a tough sport with tough coaches in a tough environment. When you’re a senior going into your sixth practice you need to know your formations and you need to know your plays. I’m very frustrated right now with where some of our so called players are.”
Stewart’s mood changed significantly when asked about the tributes that the team would be doing in honor of the mining accident in Raleigh County that killed 29 miners. The coach spoke solemnly about the families affected by the tragic event and what the team would be doing to honor the fallen miners.
“We are going to be displaying the number 29 on our helmets,” said Stewart. “We are going to start wearing them at the Gold Blue spring game on Friday, April 30. Those helmets will then be refurbished over the summer and we will wear the decal next season. It is just in honor of the tragic incident down in Raleigh County. We are going to honor our fallen brothers and wear the No. 29 the entire year, and we are going to dedicate the 2010 season to the miners in Raleigh County.”