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Trip Down Memory Lane - The Greatness of West Virginia Coach Bill Stewart

I always get a good chuckle when the name Bill Stewart is dropped. I am quickly reminded of last year's game previews for the West Virginia and some of the best quotes you will ever hear from a good ole' boy head coach. Now the Buffs have coach Dan Hawkins which makes Colorado a very easy target as well when you talk about someone with crazy quotes, less than stellar on the field performance and an overall wacky way of looking at things. But I give coach Dan Hawkins credit, he has refrained from calling himself stupid and for all we know, Dan Hawkins does believe in oxygen, unlike Bill Stewart but that is because Dan Hawkins is both a football coach and an astronaut extraordinaire:

thanks to Hallux's blog!

The West Virginia blog,The Smoking Musket, has called this game "Redemption Thursday" because, as they like to put it, Stewart looked lost on the sidelines of Folsom Field a year ago:

Head Coach Bill Stewart's image took a major hit when he closed his eyes and constantly played with his headset at Folsom Field.  Fair or unfair, many fans and commentators have not gotten over the above image in judging HCBS's performance as head ball coach of the Mountaineers.

Bill Stewart's image also took a hit last year for other reasons outlined in our game recap from a year ago:

Maybe my expectations for the Buffaloes are too high or maybe I am pretty honest, probably both faults of mine. If you would have said before the season the Buffs would be 3-0, I would have taken it in a heart beat and proclaimed the Buffs an 8 or 9 win team. Now they are 3-0 and they still might be an 8 or 9 win team but the feeling coming out of the last two games is a similar uneasy feeling. The uneasy feeling from this game stems from the fact that Bill Stewart maybe the worst coach in college football today.

White, Devine, an All American tackle in Stanchek, Sanders, and a quartet of physically gifted wide receivers that make the Buffs defensive backs look like little kids. The speed and talent is all there. I give the Buffs a lot of credit for playing that cliché style of "bend but don't break" defense but the Buffs were aided by Mr. Stewart who seemed more interested in fist pounding K Pat McAfee after an extra point rather than worrying about clock management. The play calling that Jeff Mullen pulled out on third and short was absolutely dumbfounding. How many third and shorts was West Virginia going to run up the middle with the diminutive Noel Devine right into the strength of our defense? Why not run outside like they had been all day against the weakness of the Buffs defense and the strength of WVU offensive line? You think somewhere along the way of going 3 for 13 on the third downs that the Mountaineers would have learned. But that would be putting a lot of faith in Bill Stewart. Here is how I know Bill Stewart is a bad coach. At the end of the first half, Stewart went timeout happy, trying to get clever and exuberantly calling timeouts for no reason other than to be a complete thorn in the side of all the Buffs fans whom needed to use the facilities. There was no way that he was going to get the ball back. Then as the Mountaineers are driving at the end of the game, Bill Stewart had no desire to use his timeouts to give the offense a chance to win the game even when they were at mid field with 40 seconds left. He choked on his whistle, he showed no faith in his offense showing he has no idea what he is doing.

The best part was that Bill Stewart received so much heat two weeks before for throwing the ball too much and not using Pat White's legs that he made it a point to show the Mountaineer nation that he wouldn't throw. He made his point so well that even Buffs fans were completely confused at the negative 5 passing yards that showed on the scoreboard most of the game. Stewart never loosened up the slower Colorado Buffaloes defense, he never challenged our smaller cornerbacks, he never thought to use a tight end or give Pat White a run/pass option. He has no idea how to use the tools that are in the toolbox. I was with a Sooner fan last night who will go unnamed that said he was now even more embarrassed that OU lost to a Bill Stewart coached team. Bill Stewart was that bad.

Click after the jump to relive what we wrote a year ago and be prepared for a good laugh courtesy of West Virginia Mountaineer head coach Bill Stewart. We could all use a laugh. We are 1 - 2, 17.5 point dogs on the road and play at Texas on ESPN next week; we will take any reason to laugh right about now. The Buffs only chance this Thursday might come if Bill Stewart relives what he did last year with poor clock management, poor play calling and yes, closing his eyes. And it is true, Bill Stewart did say that he doesn't believe in oxygen:

Here is what we posted last year:

So on ESPN radio, they have an ad for Colin Cowherd saying something to the tune of "there are two things that we are sure of every college football season; Clemson won't be good and hiring an assistant coach with limited experience will always drive your program into the ground." I was at the game where the West Virginia Mountaineers smoked the Oklahoma Sooners and thought it was good win by Bill Stewart in a tough spot. Everything you read, though, supports what Cowherd says. Other than the one win he had last year with former head coach Rich Rodriguez's team, Bill Stewart's head coaching experience has consisted of 3 years (1994 - 1996) at Virginia Military Institute which he had a stellar record of 8 - 25. He also had a stint at Air Force under Fischer DeBerry as an assistant. Something tells me that the Top 50 college football programs wouldn't hire Stewart with that glaringly weak resume. You read articles that say Stewart has already driven the program into the ground and how he has changed the offense so much that it doesn't emphasize the strong points of RB Noel Devine and QB Pat White.

But I am glad West Virginia hired Bill Stewart. He has had some great quotes in the last week that have made me chuckle. He discusses astronauts, oxygen, NASA, our society and bandwagon West Virginia fans.  He admits he ain't that smart either.

When you read some of the quotes below I want you to ask yourself a couple of questions.

-Does this sound like a division one football coach or does it sound like a high school coach sitting around the barber shop talking to Johnny that works at the lawnmower shop and Lou from the auto repair store?

-Do you think the pressure is getting to Billy just a little bit? Why the hell is he so worried about the delusional West Virginia fans?

-Do you believe in oxygen or are you with Bill on this one?

-Do you really think this guy pictured below ran 100 miles a week, 50 weeks a year for four years? I am glad Bill accounted for only 50 weeks properly accounting for time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas...can't run on a full stomach.

-Do you think I am taking the quote, "I'm not smart enough to know this stuff after two games," out of context? Well you won't after you read some of these quotes.

Bill Stewart and the West Virginia Mountaineers might come into Boulder and beat CU but something tells me that Bill Stewart has a ceiling, especially if he doesn't like oxygen. Mountaineer fans probably wish they would have hired Skip Holtz after last weekend.


So without further adieu, let the Bill Stewart magic begin:

Here is ole' Bill talking about Boulder and that lack of oxygen filled state o'er there named Colorado:

"I just don't think that's a big problem. I think it's kind of comical,'' Stewart said Tuesday. "I lived out there for four years at the Air Force Academy and we were at 6,800 feet. Now, when we went on our retreat with Coach [Fisher] DeBerry, we went up to almost 10,000 feet. Now that's a problem. I jogged up there. But [at Air Force] I ran 100 miles a week, 50 weeks a year for four years.''

He really tries to drive the altitude point home with this statement:

"I do not believe in oxygen. That's a joke,'' Stewart said. "Oxygen's for astronauts. You go over on the sideline and put an oxygen [mask] on, the play's already over. What do you need oxygen for? Now if you had oxygen while you were playing maybe that would help you. I don't know. I've never been to NASA and experimented with it. But I don't think in my lifetime we'll have football masks with oxygen in them.''

That'll make his team stop worrying for sure about the oxygen. Oxygen's got nothing on Bill Stewart and the Mountaineers. NASA and astronauts got nothing on 'em neither.

Now Billy talks about the game last week (East Carolina) with the first question being:

"What in the world happened?" Stewart was asked, in reference to WVU's 24-3 loss at East Carolina on Saturday.

"This was the second game of the season," Stewart replied. "That's what I don't understand about what's going on with our society. Before we get to Game 13 (a bowl game), we'd better take care of Game 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on.

"Next question, please."

Be tough with 'em Bill, teach them all how to count and make sure they eat their peas and carrots too. No more questions, time for bed.

As for criticism he has received, Stewart said: "If we have fans worrying about their motel room in December or January (for a bowl game), they have the wrong agenda. They'd better take care of Game 1-2-3-4. If they jump off the bandwagon, well, they jump off. That's OK.

Fans from West Virginia stay in motels, the rest of the world stays in hotels. Good clarification by Stewart. He also doesn't count to five like he does a quote above because he realizes he is directly referencing West Virginia fans now. Don't get ahead of yourself, Bill. Teaching is a process.

Sugar + Gator = Fiesta...sounds like my kind of party:

"I told the team, 'We have a nice Sugar Bowl ring, a nice Gator Bowl ring and a nice Fiesta Bowl ring. What's our ring going to be?' This is a different team. The 2008 team is different and we have to find our own identity. And that's what we're going to try to do.''

Willy has an interesting approach on third downs too. Definitely don't worry about them "dad gum" third downs. Horses like hay too.

"The biggest thing we are going to work on this week is to make 'hay' on first downs and stop them then. We just have to take care of first downs," Stewart said in his regularly scheduled press conference. "I tell them, 'Don't worry about getting off the field on third downs'."

Thanks for the tip coach. Hey Hawk, West Virginia is going to run more of that belly option stuff, something they should have been doing from day one:

"We tried that [Saturday]. And we ran the zone, not too bad a few times,'' coach Bill Stewart said. "What I want to get back to is that belly option, where Pat can read it, pull it or pitch it. We need to do more of that and that's what we're going to work on very, very hard this week. The zone's not been too bad, but the belly option is what we're lacking.''

Maybe Coach DeBerry can come out of retirement and give Bill a hand to find out which players he should play. Fisher has no problem pointing out who the best players are:

"I thought a couple of our guys didn't play up to their capabilities. A couple more will play this week. Truthfully, after two games, we're still finding out who our best players are. I'm not smart enough to know this stuff after two games."

More to come I am sure.


Sadly, I think Dan Hawkins is still finding out who his best players are after four years. What a coaching matchup we have coming up this Thursday in Morgantown.