September 27, 2007

Kick coverage unit battles lofty standards

MORGANTOWN-- Over the past four seasons, the West Virginia football program excelled in kickoff coverage, a unit that is often overlooked until disaster strikes. After watching two kickoffs almost returned for touchdowns against his team already this season, however, WVU special teams coordinator Bill Stewart is looking for ways to round the coverage back into shape.

"Honestly, I thought we'd be a little bit better," Stewart said of the kickoff coverage unit. "It's a little frustrating right now, but I think we'll improve."

Under head coach Rich Rodriguez, the Mountaineers have consistently stood among the Big East Conference leaders in average return yards allowed per kickoff, ranking first or second in that
category from 2003 to 2006. This season, however, WVU currently ranks fourth in the conference in that category, allowing 17.4 yards per return.

Particularly troubling to Stewart are a pair of near calamities that have already taken place this season.

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