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January 2, 2008
Q. Pat, what did you say up on the stage about Coach Stewart about what you thought his future ought to be? Can you repeat that?
PATRICK WHITE: He needs that job. He deserves it, the head coaching job.
Q. He deserves it why?
PATRICK WHITE: Great man, great coach. All the players respect him and love him. Couldn't ask for a better man to lead us to victory today.
Q. Keilen Dykes, Oklahoma came out in the third quarter, stopped the offense in two straight possessions, scored nine points. Then the onside kick. It seemed to take the momentum away. How big a play was that to recover that onside kick?
KEILEN DYKES: That was a real big play. Way to be heads up. Who knows what the game would have turned out to be, but we have to give credit on that play. It was a great play, heads-up play. The rest is history.
Q. Keilen, quick question: The fact that two years ago you won the Sugar Bowl and that felt good. After everything you have been through, does this one feel better?
KEILEN DYKES: Oh, yeah. All of them feel good, like Johnny just said. This one is sweet because this is my last game. This is my senior year. And it just feels good to come out here and win it, not just for me and the rest of the seniors but the whole state of West Virginia.
Q. This is for Noel. Can you talk about ending your rookie season, freshman season this way and being thrust into the future back role?
NOEL DEVINE: Excuse me?
Q. Can you talk about being thrust into the future back role today and having it this way to end your freshman season?
NOEL DEVINE: Talking about the future?
Q. Can you talk about ending your freshman season this way, what's that like?
NOEL DEVINE: The guys were counting on me, so I had to step up so I just went out and did what I could. And I give a lot of credit to the whole linemen and Schmitt for picking up good blocks. A lot of good blocks and good coaching. We came out with a victory.
Q. Patrick, you guys showed some big-play offense. Four straight plays, scored on 39, 75, 79, 70. Talk about those four plays that broke this game open for your offense. Again, anything surprise you from the Oklahoma defense or pretty much what you expected?
PATRICK WHITE: I guess when all 11 are executing and doing their job, we got the players to make plays happen. That's what happened tonight. Oklahoma, it is definitely a great team, great competition and fought for four quarters. I think we were a little bit more hungry than they were.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could give an opening comment?
COACH STEWART: I'm very honored, very, very honored to be sitting up here with this great group of young men and to my immediate left, your right, is my son, Blane, 13 years old. He about jumped when saw Pat sitting out there.
It is an honor and a privilege and a pleasure to be up here with these young men. We had a tremendous football game tonight against a tremendous opponent. And to win 11 games, seven of the last nine years by Bobby Stoops and his staff, those players, and the great Oklahoma Sooners, we were honored to be able to go out on the field and battle. They are outstanding, as everyone knows.
Our players deserve all the credit that anyone can bestow upon them. To come in and play what, I think -- and, again, this is not lobbying for the No. 1 position, but what I think is the No. 1 team with the No. 1 staff and a whole bunch of No. 1 group of young men out there to play was a real challenge.
And if we want to be considered, West Virginia University, nation's elite, and we've done pretty good the last few years, then you have to come in and beat a team of Oklahoma's stature. That was very impressive. Our guys fought hard and I am a little frustrated about some penalties, which I will address if anyone wants to talk about later.
But it was a great, great performance by a super group of young men. You are able right now to speak to the cream of the crop up here.
Q. Bill, I know you have refrained from talking about your situation.
COACH STEWART: Yes, Pat. Thank you for the column. It was very nice.
Q. You're very welcome.
COACH STEWART: My West Virginia home boys I've bribed. (Laughter.)
Q. What do you think maybe the job you did preparing this team to play and coaching them through this game does for that situation?
COACH STEWART: Pat, coming from you, that's very complimentary and I appreciate that. I just was labeled the interim. I have said this a zillion times and I really want people to listen because I'm going to try to say it one more time again.
The young men at West Virginia University have tremendous chemistry. I was blessed to coach eight years at three military-style colleges, blessed, honored.
These young men up here have that same type. Maybe it's high school to some of you, maybe it is old-school to some of you. If it is old-school, you should have a smile on your face. Maybe to some it is corny. You look at a group of guys 100 plus, and the leaders up here that bond like a group of high school military, church type of guys. They're not all angels (smiling) but they're not bad lads. They're not bad lads.
So it was easy to lead this group. The coaching staff -- got to hurry up?
The coaching staff, as professional as anyone could ever be, which I will discuss later if I get the right questions. Coaching staff just jutted their jaws, bowed their backs and stepped up to the plate. I am the lucky guy to be sitting up here with my son. It should be ten other guys up here with their sons, tremendous coaching staff.
Again, I'll say this, number three, the people at West Virginia, they didn't -- they didn't poll those guys. At 84%, at 16% that got polled for us, they're back home. They would come out of the hills and holler that we did. And, heck, half of them are probably my family, so you better believe they would vote for us to win. The 84% -- we don't like to ever prove America wrong, but that's pretty good force (smiling).
I will try to be more brief, but I think you needed to hear that. When you say "Bill Stewart," I have done this a long time, 33 years. Maybe this old dog has a few more years in him somewhere and that's good. I hope so. I got this seventh grader beside me and he has five more years of high school and then five years of college because I'm going to red-shirt him. His mother doesn't know.
He will be at one of those military schools. He will be a better man than his dad ever hoped him to be. I need ten more years to pay these bills, get this guy to your right, my left, be ready for life like these four, five guys here from this entire football team.
Q. Coach Stoops said he didn't think you threw too many wrinkles in the offense tonight. That's the first question. Number two, when was the last time you got a Gatorade drenching?
COACH STEWART: He said we didn't put too much wrinkles? I will answer that previous question second.
I never had a Gatorade bath, never. And it is special. Never had it. So for all the assistant coaches out there that never had it, this is for them. This is for them because there is a lot of fine coaches out there, a whole lot better than me. I just got the chance of getting a bath tonight.
Now, the other part, we didn't do a whole lot. We threw a couple razzle-dazzle. My involvement was just not to goof these guys up. You put the ball in Patrick White, at least tonight, Noel, Keilen Dykes and Johnny Dingle, impressive passers. You talk about the offense and defense. You saw some defense out there tonight. Wow. I was very honored to watch Jeff Castillo (ph) and our defensive coaches, their plan, execute.
The only thing that frustrated me was the penalties. Understand this about West Virginia University: Not everybody can play there. Not everybody can play for us. And I say that with pride. You are held accountable. You are a thumb pointer. You are not a finger pointer. We do this back home, this (indicating). I was a little frustrated because a couple good men just lost their cool and got a personal foul vocally.
We have never tolerated that in the past. It wasn't -- or will be tolerated in the present, and it will never ever, ever be tolerated in the Mountain State in the future. We don't like to play with our mouth. We like to play with our pads. That's the only thing that frustrated me the entire night. We gave up too much real estate too easy with too many penalties.
Q. Coach Stewart --
COACH STEWART: My Oklahoma buddy.
Q. From an Oklahoma media standpoint, that was one hell of an audition. Congratulations. But, also, last time Mississippi came in, Jeff Hostetler put a bidding on Oklahoma and that was one of the biggest wins ever. Put this win in perspective in West Virginia history.
COACH STEWART: It is a big one because it is a BCS win. We are having pretty much fun having those kind of games. Again, I thought we played as fine a team as there was in the country. And this was a colossal win for our program. It was big, very big.
I told the fellows in the locker room, don't be like me at 55 -- or like some of our coaches that, okay, we got to get to the next game. We got to get to winter conditioning. We got to get to spring ball. We got to get to 2008 season. Don't be like that.
Tonight, let's enjoy this. Let's go home, let's hug every person that helped make it possible for us to be at Morgantown, be it your mama, your daddy, your grandparent, a guardian, your high school coach, your favorite teacher, teammates, someone in your hometown, a neighbor that somewhere along the way spoke to you and said, hey, keep doing right, lad, because we believe in you. You go home and hug those kind of people and let them know that some day because you decide to come to West Virginia University you are going to be a great husband, you will be a great daddy, you will be a great contributor to society. Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.
We got high standards. And that's what made this win possible tonight, and it is a big one. You are absolutely right. I thank you for that kind comment and your kind remarks. I mean that sincerely.
Q. Bill, now that the season is over, I guess you are doing pretty good. Now that the season is over, what are your plans? First, do you expect to be interviewed for the job? If not, do you want to stay in Morgantown? Do you want to go with Coach Rodriguez?
JOHNNY DINGLE: Coaching job, head coach.
COACH STEWART: I am glad you asked that, because you are my buddy (smiling).
I want to tell you as calmly and rationally and as passionately as I can, I will cherish the opportunity to be the head football coach at the state flagship university, finest institution in the country, West Virginia University.
But I want you to know this: They gave me my marching orders to get this team ready, and that's what we did because of the great character on this team, a professional coaching staff and the best fans that never quit believing. That's a fact.
We have, at West Virginia University, a tremendous group in leadership. Our administration -- and I will start with Deputy Director Mike Parsons is a dear friend. Craig Walker, our chief of staff, is a pretty good friend also. I haven't known him as long. We're blessed to have an athletic director that I have known since I was 16 years old. He recruited my brother to attend Salem College. Last, but not least, we've got the finest president any school could ever have in Mike Garrison.
Our committee is in good hands. Those four men -- and please believe this -- will pick the best candidate possible for West Virginia University, for the football players on the team, for our community and for our people of the Mountain State. They will do that. I believe in them.
We have a governor that I have known since the early '70s when I was playing at Fairmont State. We are pretty good friends, also. I have not, will not politic for the job. I have not been interviewed for the job, and whatever decision those gentlemen and the committee decide, I'm with them. Understand that I am with them. I am a native West Virginian. And it is a special place; it is a special time. So good, bad or indifferent, you can say that's a big bunch of bunk or he is as corny as can be. It's fact.
The only thing that matters to me right now in my life is this guy sitting right here. At 42 years of age I was blessed to have a little fellow that I never dreamed was coming after 16 years of marriage. So my No. 1 role in this society today is to try to raise a better fellow than his daddy is.
And however this job shakes out, whatever, this, that and whatever, I will support and admire and back 100% the decision of those four gentlemen I introduced earlier along with the help of the governor or whomever make because that's their role. They've got a tough call because it is a great job with some great players and great future and we need to get the best candidate possible, okay? If it is a national search, so be it; we will get the best man for the job.
I only hope that these players some day are people that are my neighbors and friends, and the people I've known for a long time, that 25, 30 years from now when this little fellow is getting toward my age, he brings his guys back and they say, hey, Blane, man, your dad did a pretty good job in 2008. That would be the biggest reward for me.
If that happens, then the guy to my left, your right, he had been raised to be a pretty good old boy. I want to let it stop there. I would rather talk about this game, these guys up here, all that job. Thanks for the question, it needed to be addressed and it's been addressed.
With all due respect, I would like to -- if you want to talk about these stats or what we did out there, that would be -- not we, what they, what these guys did. I'm just glad I didn't have to play defense against these two little rascals or tried to block these two behemoth men. I will tell you what: You have no idea how these four guys work.
I have told every scout I know, you take one of our guys, you take a Mountaineer and you are going to get a guy -- wait until I call Mike Tomlin up, wait until I call my old buddy Mike. You better get this guy in your locker room, because you will get a character, character -- not he is going to be a character; he is going to have character. There is enough characters out there today. You are going -- you take your Mountaineer, I promise you -- you seen Mark Magro play out there tonight? Everybody should have fired me. If I was auditioning for that job, they should have fired me for playing him. 53 should never have played at all. I couldn't get him off the field. The guy was -- he played his heart out, didn't he, fellows? This guy here to my to my immediate right, your left, you just have no idea how -- what he's going through hit after hit after hit after hit. And these guys here, they were getting out -- we were outquicking them and I thought Johnny Dingle had a saddle on his back. I was looking for the spurs to come out (smiling).
It was a mess out there, now. If you've played football, you know what I am talking about. Noel Devine, Owen Schmitt put that last play in that touchdown. I was over there stuttering and sweating, stammering, trying to talk to him, I got to stuttering. And I was like the speaker at the Christian Athletes, still get excited, if you can believe that. Cub and Boy Scout honor, I still get excited.
But, man, that touchdown was Owen Schmitt's call. We have a lot of input. I give these guys a lot of freedom. They don't run the shop now; we let them think we do. They are good guys.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the cream of the crop but Owen Schmitt is not up there. Can you talk about what he has meant and what he did tonight?
COACH STEWART: Owen Schmitt, to me it looks like -- 64 yards he netted and caught a couple passes, I believe. Owen Schmitt is the heart and soul of our football team and he is a tremendous young man and hard worker.
That's what I am saying. You know what I am talking about. You put that guy in a pro locker room, somewhere they got to find a place for that guy, fullback, tight end, and he is a Christian. He is a tough, rock 'em, sock 'em. I never seen him run -- below 4:59 and I have never seen them run faster than 4:52. So he's somewhere between 4:53 and 4:58. Fourth quarter, that's when he is at his fastest.
Q. You said a couple weeks ago you are going to the NFL. Talk about this type of performance to send you out on a high note.
JOHNNY DINGLE: I told my mom I got to end on a good note. Ain't no -- this is the best winning finish, Fiesta Bowl champs. I told Dykes, we got to go out winners. That's what we did today, you know. Just decided Coach Stewart, he let us be men and we just took care of business on the field.
THE MODERATOR: Great. Thanks, guys.
COACH STEWART: Thank you very much. Thanks for all you do for college football.
End of FastScripts