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Mountaineers face several distractions

By Berry Tramel Published: December 27, 2007

're on a mission. We're going to go to work to get on board and to win a football game.”

The Mountaineers play Oklahoma Jan. 2 in the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium.

"Our players have bonded in an unbelievable way,” Stewart said. "Our coaching staff has stepped up to the plate. We've got a saying: Get in the batter's box and take the bat off your shoulders.

"I'm the guy named interim, but we've all stepped up and worked hard. Our players have responded magnificently.

"If you're honest with the players and if you're honest with yourself, it was not a life-threatening situation,” Stewart said of Rodriguez's departure. "It was a life-altering situation. But young people today are a whole lot more resilient than when I was young.

"That was a good life lesson. Our young men put their blinders on and went to work. The leadership of our football team took over.”

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