The Times West Virginian

Daily Grind

April 12, 2009

Looking ahead

WVU coach focuses on next season

After losing players like quarterback Pat White, kicker Pat McAfee, and linebacker Mortty Ivy, most head football coaches would be in a panic. However, West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart welcomed the graduation of the most winning senior class in WVU history.

“Graduation is a good thing,” admitted Stewart. “You can’t keep them forever. They are like your children. You give them roots, and you have to give them wings. We’ll find out how good we are, and we’ll find out how good our opponents are in the Big East.”

Stewart is using spring football as a time to get his team focused for the upcoming 2009 season. Unlike the past few seasons, Stewart is determined to keep his team’s focus going on one game at a time. He would like the Mountaineers to focus on one championship at a time, beginning with the Big East championship.

“We had a family discussion about what our goals are,” said Stewart. “Sometimes youngsters put the cart before the horse and we don’t want to do that. Last year we started talking about championships; well the only championship I want these guys talking about is the Big East Championship. That is the only championship and the most important championship. It is our goal and that will always be our goal. You can’t do anything without the Big East; you have to win it before you meet any other goals.”

The Mountaineers began spring practice March 24. Many Mountaineers returned to the field after sitting out last season. Sophomore offensive lineman Josh Jenkins returned to practice after suffering a knee injury during a game against Rutgers last season. Senior running back Maxwell Anderson and junior holder Jeremy Kash returned after an indefinite suspension last season that pulled them out of the last four games of last season. Senior linebacker Reed Williams is healthy after taking a medical redshirt last year.

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