By Colin Dunlap | 4 p.m. Sunday
OK, here's the easiest way to do it. Below is the full transcript from what WVU coach Bill Stewart said today during his weekly teleconference with the reporters who regularly cover the team...you can sift through it. There's a lot of interesting nuggets, including why he chose to punt from the 33 yard line:
It's Sunday afternoon, and we're going to have lifting at 2 o'clock and the players have been here for treatment since 12:30. We'll have our team meeting at 3:15, and then we'll go out to practice this evening.
Recapping the game at USF, as I said after the game I thought it was a hard-fought game. The one thing on defense, I think mentally you have to contain the man as well as physically. You have to know what the guy is going to do and where he is coming from. If you have outside help and your inside in the 2-gap, you stay under control. If your coming inside-out then you know the guy can spring outside so it's called a little thing before snap and react at the snap.
Offensively, I think the same way. There were some very nice plays and some not so well. You can't throw a pick when the score is 10-9, we get the ball down there at the 38-yard line after the safety, which I still don't know if that was a safety or touchdown, I thought touchdown. But anyhow, when it's judgment. I have no legal counsel to stand on. But anyhow, being what it was, 10-9 and then get the ball at the 38-yard line and throw pick, it just kills you.
I was proud of the effort they gave, there were some circumstances where the offense fought back and got it back to 20-19 and just a few short plays later then bam, 27, that was frustrating.
Defensively as well, when you don't score on offense, that sometimes frustrates them too. It's a team game, this is a team loss by the entire travel party, coaches, players and the whole gang. We do have some things to build on. It was a good, athletic bunch we played and now we just have to regroup and get ready for the stretch run. That's what it's all about from here on out. We practice today, and then we'll go through our normal week on Monday.
Statistically speaking, there were a lot of positives, but a stat sheet doesn't win a football game as I said after the game. That being said we just have to get better, strain harder and stay together. I mean that sincerely, stay together.
On the team's consistency
I think we're playing pretty good football. We got beat by a team that has good athletes and that right now I think they have the same record as us. I sure wish we were 7-1 and they were 5-3, but we're not. So are we a juggernaut right now? No we're not, but I saw a lot of good things. We're not as good as we need to be. We have made a lot of good plays, and we have had some good times this season, and I hope we have more good times and more good plays left in us in all three phases of the game.
On how the team will adjust to the upcoming passing teams
First of all we're going to show them the film, tell them the absolute truth and the whole truth. I want to show them our contain problems, and I'm not going to stand here and finger point at little No. 8 (Keith Tandy), I can assure you that, that's not the way I operate, nor do my coaches. That ballgame did not rest on that little guy, because there are 10 other guys out there that can be getting better pressure, break on the ball, it's just frustrating, and it hurts you sometimes when they got a fast guy that can run by you. We're playing the best 11, I don't play favorites, I play the best 11 at all times and that's our best.
Now what can we do? We can coach harder, play harder, get a little bit more and that's what I told them after the game. You can go zero, cover zero and blitz. You can roll up and cover two, you can go quarters, you can play three-deep. All the stuff we're trying to do and did in that game to help against some athletic youngsters, we try to do. We have to get better and continue to mix it up and maybe we'll get a break and have a tipped ball or batted ball. It was just a long night for a couple of youngsters, one in particular, and we'll do the best we can to shore that problem up.
On the injuries
We're in better shape, Sidney (Glover) got nicked there at the end and Chris Neild, God bless him, he got bowed-back on that short yardage, what a gallant effort he made. I saw him get bowed-back, and he would not go down though. They had three guys on him, the center and both guards on a wedge block and that boy stuck his feet in there and they bowed him clear back to where his helmet touched the ground. He wouldn't give, he bent, but he wouldn't break. I was so proud of him, he hyper-extended his back so to speak, but he's fine. Right now the only guy is Sidney, and I did not know Nate Sowers got kicked that hard Thursday night in the two-minute drill with no pads on. He was just trying to get the ball and got kicked in the calf and the thing locked up on him down there. I guess the flight, and we treated in Wednesday night, we treated it Thursday, got on the plane and on Friday it locked up and he couldn't run. I hated that because we sorely missed Nate, but that's not the reason we lost the game, we have very capable backups, but we're getting better and we're going to be more healthy this week.
On Reed Williams' injuries
Reed is not going to be an 80-play guy. Will he play, yes he will play and he played very well from the time he was in there. Reed made a difference. Anthony Leonard got some nice acclaim from the coaching staff. He did some good things, and we'd sure like to have Reed in there for 80 plays or however many plays we have to play in any ballgame. They had 66 plays by stats without repeat plays or penalty plays; I don't think Reed will ever play a complete every play game again this year.
Everyone of our guys, who was supposed to be here, was here a lot earlier than they probably anticipated on Saturday. Everyone was supposed to be here, they were all here to a man and today as well. That's the kind of young men we have. This is a great, great group of youngsters, and they're doing everything they can to get healthy. Reed was at treatment, and I was here yesterday and here again today and Dave (Kerns) says he is really better. What he needs is a couple of weeks off to rest, but we don't have a couple of weeks, that's all.
On Anthony Leonard
Anthony has done really well in practice, he has shown his coaches that he's gotten better and that's a real compliment when you can do that. Jeff Casteel is a lot more relieved, and he was given special mention by the defensive coaches, that he played pretty good. That's good to see.
On the running game
In a nutshell, when it was 20-19, we were still in sync. Noel (Devine) did not have a lot of big plays, because they bottled him up pretty good. He had some nice runs, but then the shovel pass that he broke once, the second time he got hit in the backfield. We couldn't spring him like we've done and when that happens you have to throw the ball. We did that a bit, but in the fourth quarter when it was 27-19 we methodically worked the ball all the way and boom, boom, boom they got a touchdown. That through us out of rhythm and in the fourth quarter we have to throw the ball 12 of 13 or 14 plays, and I wanted to get the ball to Noel there, but we had to throw the ball because once we went down two scores, we had to hurry up a little bit.
On the switch from Josh Lider to Tyler Bitancurt on kickoffs
I'm going to tell you right now you're going to see some more interchangeable parts. There is nothing wrong with kickers and punters competing. We compete at every other position, this is not some sacred cow on sacred ground. The wind was killing us, and I just said Josh, you hang on and I'll save you for some other punch kicks. Tyler, I need you to see if you can hit this ball deep. He hit the ball in the end zone and he was hanging the ball well, so I said we're going to ride with him.
I punted from the 33-yard line, because I don't want to turn it over with 67 yards to go, because our defense is struggling. When our defense is struggling, I want to pin the ball back in the 5 or 10-yard line. Kick the ball in the corner and that's what I want to see and I didn't see it and I'm not very happy about that.
How does the process work about switching out players
The coaches make the call, if I say get a guy out of there, they will, I'm the boss. I'm not going to go out there and embarrass somebody just because I want to be a jerk and embarrass someone. If I don't think someone is getting the job done, then somebody else gets an opportunity. We kicked the ball out of bounds, we went with the other guy, and that's what I liked to see. Maybe we'll rotate some more kickers and punters, we'll just have to wait and see.
On whether Lider maybe have found himself another job
At that time in game, 27-19, with them just coming off a big play, I'm not going to put the defense in that bind. I'm going to kick it and make them drive 90 yards. If we miss-hit it, they have to drive 80 instead of 67, still 13 more yards. I didn't feel at that time to go for the fourth down. Other times during the games if I think we can hold them, I'll do it. I didn't think at that I thought our defense needed to stay off the field at that time, that was my decision.