West Virginia Football: Bill Stewart's Version of the Final Four

Jeff WoollardCorrespondent IINovember 11, 2010

Head Coach Bill Stewart
Head Coach Bill Stewart

Head coach Bill Stewart and his West Virginia Mountaineer football team is coming out of their last bye week of the regular season. The WVU football team is staring at its own version of the final four.

The first of those final four games is against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats this Saturday. WVU enters the contest with an overall mark of 14-3-1 against the Bearcats.

Two of those three losses have come in the last two years. Bill Stewart has never defeated the team from Cincinnati as head coach of the Mountaineers.

It is worth noting that the first victory by the Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium was against the University of Cincinnati. The date was September 6, 1980, and the game was the first ever played at the then new stadium.

Don Nehlen coached his first game for the Mountaineers and his starting quarterback that day was none other than current Athletic Director Oliver Luck. The flying WVU logo made its first appearance in that game, and John Denver sang “Take Me Home Country Roads.“

Not since 2003 have the Mountaineers gone this far into the season before becoming bowl eligible, as irony would have it, 2003 happens to be the year of the first of those three losses to Cincinnati.

Stewart announced last week that he was performing an extensive review of the football team. Stewart followed that up with the announcement this week that the review was complete.

Whatever conclusion the review arrived at needs to equate to victory for Stewart and his team.

The key to the contest on Saturday could hinge on the ability of the Mountaineer defense to contain the Bearcat offense. It could be asking too much of the WVU offense to win a shootout against the Bearcats.

Stewart has often referenced military leaders of yore in his weekly press conferences. None is more fitting than his quote of Ferdinand Foch last year, “My center is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack.“

Precisely the attitude Stewart’s Mountaineers need to carry with them onto Mountaineer Field on Saturday.


Earlier this week I posted an article titled, “West Virginia Football: Should Bill Stewart Stay or Should He Go?”

Bob Hertzel of the Times West Virginian had this to say about the article, “Having read this drivel, it was time to bring it up to Stewart, ask him his reaction to the outcry over his part in his team’s performance this year“.

Stewart’s response according to Mr. Hertzel, “It’s on the Internet?” he asked. “On the message boards, or what. I don’t blog. I don’t know how to answer that.”

Hertzel then added, “But he tried to.”

“If I don’t know about it, it certainly hasn’t bothered me. I just don’t have that much time to give to that, so I have no comment.”

Does it trouble him, though?

“I’m sure there’s a lot of things being said. That’s the right of Americans. They can voice their opinion.”

As a journalist, and a highly respected journalist at that, Hertzel should realize that Stewart is correct. Freedom of thought, and freedom of speech are at the core of what it is to be an American.

I did not post the article without first developing an opinion based on the research I did. The article in no way reflects my opinion of the coaches as individuals.

Actually, the complete opposite would be true, I wrote the article based on my opinion of the job they were doing as coaches.

I stand by that opinion, and the article it generated. Should an individual disagree with me, they too have that inalienable right as an American.

In response to Mr. Hertzel, some will agree, some will disagree, others will call it excellent, and still others will call it trash. At the end of the day, that is all a writer can ask for.

In closing, thank you for the read and the post Mr. Hertzel.