West Virginia head coach Neal Brown and the Mountaineers have earned a respite after losing three-straight games to sit in last place in the Big 12.
Despite the mistakes and losses that have curtailed the first six games of the 2021 season, Neal Brown is still optimistic for the second half of the year.
“We’re not at a funeral, we’ve just lost a couple of football games,” Neal Brown said on Tuesday. “At the midpoint of the season, we’re obviously not where we want to be.”
Following a 45-20 loss to Baylor on Saturday, Neal Brown said that ‘everything is on the table’. On Tuesday, he elaborated on that statement, but said the focus of the program has not changed.
“When things aren’t going well, you go back and reflect,” Neal Brown said. “I’m not sitting here today making any big announcements or anything. What I’m going to do a lot over the next two days is listen.”
“We talked a lot in our staff meeting today,” Neal Brown added. “I’ll meet with each of our coaches like we do every bye week and I’ll meet with a third of our football team over the next day and a half and get some thoughts and do a lot of listening. Then, I’ll have a plan moving forward on Thursday on how we’re not only going to attack TCU, but the next six games.”
The WVU running game has not taken off this season as it was envisioned. Senior running back Leddie Brown has less than 500 rushing yards this year and the Mountaineers as a team are averaging 108.3 yards per game as a team.
That total ranks West Virginia last in the Big 12.
Neal Brown mentioned many factors to why Leddie Brown’s season isn’t equal to what was expected.
“The defenses we’ve played are quality defenses,” Neal Brown said. “The early part of the season from a defensive standpoint is probably set up a little different from a year ago.”
“We’re not doing a good job creating movement for him,” Neal Brown added. “We’re not getting on some of the second and third level guys where he can break extended runs. We’re not doing a good job hitting some of our play action passes. I think that he’s left some yardage out there too. For us to be successful, we have to make sure he’s more productive.”
Despite the poor start to the season, Neal Brown has stated that he is still committed to developing the program at West Virginia.
“I knew this wasn’t going to be a quick turn,” Neal Brown said. “Did I think we were going to be 2-4 right now? No. Did I think we were going to be 6-0? Probably not either.”
“I did feel like we would play better and be able to close out some of these games in the fourth quarter that we simply have not,” Neal Brown added. “I knew this was going to be a process. Did I think that we were going arrive in year three and be at the top of the league? No. Do I believe with all my heart that we’ll get there? Absolutely.”