There once was a fear about Mountaineer football.
Facing White, Slaton, Schmitt, and Reynaud was a Herculean task for any team. Of course, we weren't always victorious, but teams knew that one false move, one blown assignment was going to be punished. Where is that feeling now?
Bill Stewart has continually used the rallying cry of "respect all, fear none" as some type of motivational tool. Unfortunately, it's simply not effective, mostly because it's something you would hear from the coach of a top-ranked team. When you're a top-ranked team, it's easy to think your unbeatable, to think you're easily better than a lesser team.
When you're the 2010 version of the Mountaineers? No way, no how. I have absolutely no idea how the thought that this team is so much better than anyone creeps into the locker room. "Respect all, fear none" smacks of condescension at a time when such an emotion shouldn't reside within a two-hour drive of Morgantown. It's a cliche, one that does our team a disservice in the long run. Of course we better respect all, because when teams come into Mountaineer Field and push us around, we have no other choice. Why do we need a rallying cry to tell us that?
And, if that isn't bad enough, we get this:
“I know they were not nearly as impressed with Syracuse before the game as they were after the game,” he said.
Bill, It's your job to make them impressed with Syracuse. Again, this incarnation of the Mountaineers have absolutely no business believing they're better than anybody, including Syracuse. And, as head coach, you better sure as hell make that sink in, preferably without another loss to necessitate it.
“Maybe our football team now — as I said at halftime — will worry more about doing all the little things right and reading a few less press clippings and taking care of business when you have a chance to.”
Make them run law school hill until they puke. Ban newspapers -- and hell, this blog if you have to -- from the locker room to keep them from reading news clippings. I don't care what you do, but as head coach and chief executive of this football team, any loss falls at your feet, Bill, not the feet of the players.
If you don't think they're taking an opponent seriously, then that's an absolute failure as a head coach to do your job, which is to properly prepare your team for a game.
If you don't do that, why even bother running out of the tunnel?