No. 8 WVa's Bill Stewart prepares for first game Print
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Tuesday, 26 August 2008 12:11
NCAAF Headline News

 CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -Now that Bill Stewart has coached his way into the full-time job at West Virginia, he has to keep from coaching himself out of it.
He's likely to win his first game as Rich Rodriguez's replacement, nine months after guiding West Virginia past Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl as the interim coach.
Saturday's game against Championship Subdivision member Villanova poses a lighter challenge than the Sooners with a lot less at stake. Even so, Stewart's not looking past a team returning 17 starters.
``Our chief concern is that we never underestimate an opponent,'' Stewart said Tuesday.
Even though quarterback Pat White is back and No. 8 West Virginia's offensive line is intact from a year ago, there are major concerns on a defense with few returning starters. Rightly so, Stewart is worried about his own players and how they'll handle themselves.
``Are we going to have offsides? Are we going to have mental breakdowns? Are we going to stay together?'' Stewart said. ``Because there's going to be crunch time in every game.
``I told the team I didn't want them to feel any pressure because I want them to be loose in every game.''
That won't be any trouble for Stewart, who wore a suit and tie for his first regular-season news conference and appeared as easy going as the day after the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl, when he was picked to succeed Rodriguez despite going 8-25 at VMI from 1994-96 in his last job as a head coach.
``The trip out west to play in that January bowl game was just about the bowl game. This is all about making an impression,'' Stewart said. ``A long time ago as a little kid I learned that the most lasting impression is your first impression. So this needs to be a big first impression.''
Despite West Virginia's Top 10 ranking to start a season for the third straight year and the still-fresh memories of national championship hopes getting thrown out the window with a December loss to Pittsburgh, Stewart said he doesn't feel one bit of pressure.
``I know who I am. I'm very secure,'' he said. ``I hope I remain the same guy. I've got a nice bride at home who's going to make sure I don't crow too much, and I got a 13-year-old son who keeps me in line and friends in the business that won't let me forget who I am.
``I sleep well. I'm not going to change.''
 

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