I haven't had an opportunity to hear Bill Stewart's post-game interview from Thursday night. (Nor do I want to.) I'm guessing it went something like this:
BILL STEWART: Well, daggummit, we had them where we wanted them. If I could have punted the ball one more time on 4th and short, the outcome would have been different. But that's only 2 losses this season. Together, this team can still lose 9 more games. Questions?
REPORTER 1: Bill, do you lay the blame for the loss on the offense or defense?
B.S.: Eh, who wants to lay blame? Everyone played as inept as possible. I thought the defense played a little better than I would like but they still managed to give up a lot of 3rd down plays. Pat White tried to get the offense cooking but I made sure we punted on every 4th and short play we could and we narrowed the playbook as much as possible.
REPORTER 2: At the beginning of the year, you said you were going to let Pat White throw the ball. But it sure seemed like the Mountaineers abandoned the passing game against ECU and has never looked back. Why?
B.S.: Throwing the ball would open up the running game for White and Devine, right? Sure it would. So, we don't throw the ball. Pat and Noel need to gain their yards the old-fashioned way and earn them. No shortcuts here. No spreading a defense. You get those yards the hard way, you hear me? If they can't do it, that's not my fault. But we're going to run, run, run. I don't remember saying anything about passing. Are you sure that was me?
REPORTER 1: Fourth and short and you punt every time. Why?
B.S.: I don't want there to be too much continuity on defense. See, I said continuity...that's a big word so stop making fun of me for being a hometown boy. Anyway, I like punting. Pat McAfee likes to punt too. Makes him part of the game.
REPORTER 3: Speaking of McAfee, what about that missed field goal? What was up with that missed field goal man?
B.S.: Well, obviously Pat's disappointed. We put him in the worst possible position we could. Ran a sweep to lose a yard on 3rd-and-one and then gave him a bad angle to kick the ball. We did everything we could to set him up to fail and he didn't disappoint.
REPORTER 2: Looking back, do you wish you went for some of those 4th and shorts?
B.S.: Can't live in the past. Might have won the game if we did. Might not have. I don't make those calls anyway. I just stand here and look happy :)
REPORTER: 3: Clock management seemed to be lacking at the end of the game. What was up with that? Seriously dude.
B.S.: Eh, we forgot the games were timed. Easy mistake to make. Besides, time management is for business people, not football teams. Like oxygen is for astronauts. Ya'll should laugh at that now.
REPORTER 4: Marshall up next. What do you think of your chances against the Thundering Herd?
B.S.: Probably good. We're gonna get out there and run that ball against them. Open up the offense with some draws and bubble screens. Maybe run Devine 25 or 30 times. Punt the ball a good number of times and see how things turn out. I feel confident we can keep the Herd in the game and let it come down to the wire.
Hey boys, it's been fun but I'm gonna head on back to the hills. I got some adoring fans back home that want to greet me with nice signs and stuff. And, just for the record: gosh darnit, dag nabbit and well, i'll be the son of a monkey's uncle. See ya'll in a week or so.