MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Football Coach Bill Stewart and player quotes following Saturday's Gold-Blue spring game.
Head Coach Bill Stewart:
On today’s spring game:
It’s great to have everyone here. Thanks so much for being here for the Gold-Blue Game. I hope it was a lot of fun for everyone – it sure looked like the players were having fun out there. We got some things accomplished, but we have a long way to go to be a good football team. I liked our enthusiasm, I liked our effort and I liked how we practiced against each other all spring. I think our game today was just a culmination of that.
We looked enthused. I was just pleased with the way they conducted themselves, in Mountaineer fashion. It was good competition.
First of all, we didn’t play Noel Devine very much. He took the football and did what he is capable of doing with the 74-yard run. That got everyone excited and it was good to see. His second effort was good.
Jarrett Brown played extremely well. He missed a protection before the half that got me upset. Some of that is coaching on my part. It will get better for him. He has tremendous arm strength. He was throwing the ball to his left, like a circus act.
I thought the BIG EAST crew (officiating) was great. We had them three times this year – I thought they were really great.
On Wes Lyons:
The coaches have watched him all spring grow stronger and more confident. He just plays very consistent. He’s just been Mr. Sturdy to me. He caught a ball out there today that he never caught before. I had the official tell him what he did wrong out there today. He told him, “Look, you made a good catch. Just set the ball down afterward.” That was good to hear from an official
On Alric Arnett:
Just seems to make plays. He and Bradley Starks. Jarrett Brown is a big, tall, man, throwing to big, tall men. These are all big guys. We haven’t had these size guys out there, and I think moving Wes Lyons in to the slot has been very beneficial.
On the offense:
I’m very proud of our offensive linemen. They took every snap. Donnie Barclay went down – that’s still under evaluation. I’ll have to wait until this week to hear the extent. I think it was a below the knee injury, the not-bearing-weight bone. The great thing is, he had knee braces on, and his ankle is in good shape, as is his knee. Could have been trouble if he didn’t have braces on.
Saw Tyler (Bitancurt) kick the ball. We didn’t play a PAT team – just the offensive guys, so he didn’t have any of his blockers or receivers out there.
It was good to see Max Anderson to get in the game and get a carry.
On Coley White:
I was really pleased to see what he did out there. Coley was 4-of-5 against the Blue with the No. 1 offense, and 5-of-8 against our No. 1 defense. He reminded you of someone out there a couple of times when he broke free. I liked the way Coley White moved the offense. I liked the way he kept his pocket presence. I liked the bootleg stuff he was doing. I saw him throw some crossing routes and find the right guy. Coley White matured out there today – it was very nice to see that.
Secondary wise, I think they did a nice job.
Keith Tandy’s hit on Jordan Roberts was a big time hit. He hit him right flush in the chin. That was a big-time tackle. I went up to Coach Lockwood and told him I haven’t seen a hit out there like that in a while.
On the Blue team:
I thought Jordan Roberts ran well out there. He doesn’t care who he plays – he plays. That guy brings it. And when you hit him, you better tackle. That was nice to see.
I thought Logan Heastie caught a nice ball.
Zack Flynt was just running around – he’s a good guy.
Brantwon Bowser stood out.
The kicking, we kept it to a minimum.
On what Roberts brings to the team:
I think he brings toughness. He has great resolve. He is the type of kid that doesn’t know that he isn’t supposed to play. He has been slamming up in there all spring. That being said, I need to find a place for that kid on our special teams, and I’m going to do that. When he’s running down-hill, he will hurt you when you tackle him. He could also be a short-back. He and Ryan Clark. I don’t care if he plays safety or he plays tailback, he needs to be on special teams. He’s a very physical young man, and brings a toughness to this program.
I don’t get a chance to get in the flow of the game when it’s like this. I’m looking at both sides, instead of just one. People want to see football, and you get better by playing. Some coaches would scrimmage every day if they could. We scrimmage a lot – it brings a toughness to you. The guys want to play – they want to go against the little fellows. I also wanted to bring some bonding to this team. I wanted to go out on a good note. They were cheering for each other – that’s what you want to bring out of a game like this.
On JT Thomas:
Tweaked his ankle. JT is very good – I think he’s destined for greatness. I just wish he was as tough as his dad.
On Jarrett Brown:
This is Jarrett Brown’s team. He is special. All Jarrett Brown has ever done is win. He is a phenomenal young man. He is a great young man. I hope that he will be blessed by the football gods to have a banner senior year. He deserves it.
He wants to make every play, but you have to learn to retreat. There’s nothing wrong with a punt. You have to protect the football. We can punt the ball, give it back to them, and make them fumble or pick them. You don’t have to be perfect, but sometimes, youngsters think they have to make every play. He’s not dangerous, he’s not reckless – he’s just eager, and he has to be careful.
I wanted our line to gel in a game. I wanted to push our guys in a game, and that’s what we did today. We pushed them.
On Gino Gradkowski and Joey Madsen:
Those two got better today.
I want to thank you all for a great Spring. We gained a little bit, but we have a long way to go with all of the intangibles. I’m most proud of how tough our team became. I demanded a lot, our coaches demanded a lot. But I think our guys developed a toughness that has been a part of our program for a long time. To wear the Old Gold and Blue out there is a privilege. We got a little bit tougher, but we have a long way to go. We need to develop a short game and work on some redzone plays. If we can get close to 70 plays a game, we will have a good football team on our hands.
WVU PLAYER QUOTES:
On the set-up of game:
I liked it a lot; it was just like a regular game. I thought it was a good set-up today. Reed Williams
I think we did some good things today. Obviously, we let Jordan get loose on us today, and we need to cut that out. I think today gave our non-travel guys a chance to get out there and get some hits.
I want to get to a point this season where I can call the plays myself. I felt comfortable out there today.
On being a leader on the offensive line this year:
I try to lead as much as I can. I try to lead by example, vocally – I just try to do as much as I can for our offense.
On freshmen linemen:
You certainly don’t want to lean on a freshman, but it would be nice to have a surprise, like a Josh Jenkins, in this year’s class. The speed of this game – guys can get very strong, but offensive linemen have to react very fast.