“I don’t care if you have 12-0 talent. If you have 6-6 leadership, that is what your team is probably going to be — 6-6,” Coach Bill Stewart said.
It isn’t really about whether Geno Smith can run the team, whether the offensive line is improved.
It’s about replacing the leadership of Jarrett Brown and Reed Williams and, yes, even Patrick White, who is in his second year away from WVU but whose shadow still hangs heavily.
“This entire operation of 2010 is going to be based on some very simple facts. Do we have the right chemistry? Do we have the right leadership? Do we have the right role models doing what they are supposed to do? That is what we are going to find out,” Stewart said.
“We will be good as our leadership and not just with our seniors — new ones must emerge. We only lost three senior starters on offense and two on defense. We were a young football team, but you can only use that excuse so long. We need leaders to step up. It is all based on leadership, and I hope our guys will take care of that.”
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The players understand the role they must take in running the show.
Don Barclay is a junior offensive lineman, a returning starter.
He understands the leadership thing.
“Back when I was freshman when went to the Fiesta Bowl and had two great leaders in Owen [Schmitt] and Patrick [White].”
Then they had just Patrick White and then no Patrick White.
They had to take what they had seen and put it to use.
“Leadership starts with your work ethic,” Barclay said. “Leaders set examples.”
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Chris Neild understands about leading. He actually had taken a leadership role the week before the Cincinnati game.