The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 17, 2009

Trickery worth a try for Stewart

MORGANTOWN — Turns out West Virginia wasn’t ignorant of the rules when it was called for an illegal formation on consecutive kickoffs against Cincinnati on Friday night.

Instead, Coach Bill Stewart said Saturday he was deliberately trying to break them … and get away with it.

You will recall the Mountaineers were penalized on consecutive kickoffs for putting two players in motion and moving them from one side of the kicker to the other, leaving them with less than four players on that side of the field, which is demanded in the rules.

“It happened under my instruction,” Stewart said. “I told them to get a little jump on that for [kick returner] Mardy Gilyard. We tried it and got caught with our hand in the cookie jar. I then told them to do it again because they won’t call it a second time.”

Gilyard is one of the nation’s premier return men and he hurt WVU last year, bringing the opening kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown.

“What happened is we got a little jump and made a nice play, but it came back. That’s OK,” Stewart said. “I tried to load the box on him and we just got past the kicker a little too much. It was something I instructed them to do, but they said you need to stay back a little bit.”

While Stewart’s trickery was caught, he noted that it really didn’t affect the game.

“After that they had three plays, minus seven yards, had the ball for 1:38 and punted to us,” he said. “We got the ball and went five plays and punted it back and changed field position. They got the ball, missed a field goal and we got the ball and scored to lead 14-7.

“That kick with the two penalties had no part in any way, shape or form on the game. I just tried to use a little sandlot on coverage and got caught.”

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Bob Herzel
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