MORGANTOWN - Keith Tandy freely admits that having what amounted to two head football coaches was a bit awkward.
That's no longer an issue, of course, for West Virginia's football team, what with Bill Stewart's Friday resignation and the immediate elevation of Dana Holgorsen into the top spot.
And while Tandy wasn't happy to see Stewart go, he can't help but think that things might now begin to return to normal.
"It relieves the tension a little bit, I guess,'' West Virginia's senior cornerback said Saturday, a few hours after Stewart met with the members of the Mountaineer team who happened to be in town and wished them well. "With Coach Stew and Coach Holgorsen both around, it was hard to figure out who to listen to and who was in charge. Now it's more clear cut and we can get back to work.''
Tandy is really the first Mountaineer player to flat-out admit that the arrangement whereby Stewart was the head coach for one more year and Holgorsen was already on staff and set to replace him was awkward, at best. There were really no outward signs that the situation was causing any friction or confusion among the players, but consensus outside the program since the deal was put in place seven months ago was that it would be confusing.
"It was especially hard for me because I never thought Coach Holgorsen was going to be my [head] coach. I'm a senior and when I graduate, then he was going to take over,'' Tandy said. "But I had questions, sure. And a lot of my teammates were the same way: 'Is Stew the head man or is Holgorsen the head man?'
"It's good that the distraction has been eliminated. When you're out there playing football, you want to focus on doing that and making plays and not worrying about which coach you're going to listen to.''
Stewart, who resigned under pressure Friday after a week of accusations that he attempted to undermine Holgorsen, returned to the Puskar Center Saturday morning and spoke to as many players as could be rounded up on short notice, although many had left town for the weekend.
"His message was that this program is bigger than any one individual,'' said offensive lineman Jeff Braun.
The messages now, however, are all coming from Holgorsen, the 39-year-old offensive mastermind who was hired in December to revamp WVU's offense and then succeed Stewart after this season. The timetable for his ascension to the top spot was merely accelerated by last week's events.