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April 13, 2011Last week Head Coach Bill Stewart asked his team to focus on the little things and work on the fundamentals of the game moving forward during the remainder spring drills.
And on Wednesday, Stewart met with reporters pleased with practice No. 7 and the overall effort given by the Mountaineer football team.
"For those guys who truly want to be great, master the fundamentals, get out here and get better, and play Mountaineer football, today was a very good day. These guys absolutely got after each other," he said. "I liked our 7-on-7 effort and pass rush and I thought the team ended very well. I'm very pleased with our effort."
Stewart once again highlighted the leadership from the senior class during the course of the spring up to this point. Among the players singled out by Stewart were Geno Smith, Tyler Urban, Bruce Irvin and Najee Goode.
"I do like the enthusiasm - the way we came out and went to work - and I'm proud of the way our upperclassmen are leading," he said. "Geno (Smith) has become a good leader, and I'm starting to see some linemen step up; I really like that."
Eain Smith, who has sit out the spring with an injury, also was highlighted by Stewart for the leadership role he's taken with the younger players during the spring.
"Every drill I look at in film, I see Eain Smith in the background backpedaling and trying to work on his reads. He is a student of the game," he said. "There is nothing he can really do physically because of his shoulder surgery, but I do know he's into it and he's been a good leader."
Defensively, Stewart once again spoke highly of Irvin and the overall effort on that side of the ball.
"Defensively, Bruce Irvin comes off that edge like a bullet. I thought Najee Goode had a good day, and then back in the secondary I thought the guys were disguising well," he said. "They were trying to confuse our quarterback, and they did a nice job."
Additionally, Stewart addressed the special teams work the team has been practicing and the progress with that unit.
"We've really worked hard on PAT, field goal and punt. Today was a really good day for punt. I put different looks in and different personnel, and we really stressed our punt team so I was pleased with that," he said. "Next week we'll do kickoff return, and the last week we'll do kickoff."
The Mountaineers now have eight practices remaining until the annual Gold-Blue game April 29 and Stewart spoke to the importance of those reps and the upcoming scrimmages.
"I am really pleased, and it is more of a mental thing now. We have eight practices to go and three of them are scrimmages - this Saturday, the morning of Good Friday and then the Gold-Blue game," he said. "Three of these next eight practices are team-scrimmage situations. With that being said, you have to come out to the field ready to go and I think we did."