Nearly every game this season has been a challenge for the West Virginia football team, which continues to fall short of preseason expectations.
Most recently, the Mountaineers (3-6) fell 31-14 to Iowa State on the road Saturday, marking the team’s third straight loss. Many fans have taken to social media to voice their frustration with the team and head coach Neal Brown.
The Daily Athenaeum spoke with students on campus Monday about their opinions on the WVU football season and Brown’s tenure in Morgantown.
The West Virginia (3-6, 1-5 Big 12) football team traveled to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday to fac…
Emma Gunter, a freshman international studies student, said has been disappointed with the team’s results this season.
“I have always liked the team. I’m from Morgantown, so I have a lot of love for the team, and I think [Brown] is a good guy but I don’t think he’s the greatest coach we’ve ever had here,” Gunter said.
Gunter added that she’s witnessed a lack of morale from students and fans in Morgantown because of the team’s performance this season.
“You can really see the difference in the love that everyone has for the team with the change of the coach and the morale that’s been lost because of it,” she said. “I do think that we need some sort of change in the management, but some sort of change needs to be made for sure.”
Now in his fourth season at WVU, Brown has compiled a 20-24 record so far, causing many fans and students to believe that the Mountaineers may want to move on from the head coach who came out of Troy in 2019.
Another WVU student, junior accounting major Justin Akers, has followed the team closely this season, and he believes the main culprit for the Mountaineer’s struggles has been poor defensive play.
“I think [Brown] is a good recruiter. I think he’s a good coach, but I just think it’s our defense,” Akers said. “Our defense just looks bad week-in week-out. I get there are a lot of young guys, but we’re giving up over 28 points a game.”
Despite this, Akers said West Virginia’s offense can be fixed.
“Our offense hasn’t helped much but more importantly we have ro look at the defense first then look at the offense,” he said. “The offense can get fixed, we have JT [Daniels], who I still think is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, but for me the defense has to get fixed.”
Akers offers more positivity to the coaching staff this season too, saying that after four years, Brown and the staff still deserve one more season to perform in Morgantown.
“It’s his fourth year — and his most disappointing year — but it’s just the recruitments we get are pretty good recruits, so I would say give it one more year,” Akers said. “Next year, that’s the year. If we do bad, then fire him, but I say give him one more year.”
Some students on campus have taken a stronger stance against Brown, believing that he should be fired before next year based on the team’s mediocre performance.
Freshman biochemistry major Tristan Bly said Brown should be fired at the end of the season.
“I’m a little disappointed, and I think Neal Brown should be fired at the end of the season. The team just hasn’t been that good since he got here and with all the talent they have, they should definitely be doing better,” Bly said.
Now reaching the second-half of Brown’s fourth season head coaching the Mountaineers, it will be up to the head coach and the players to perform well over the last three games to regain the support from students and fans
The next matchup for WVU football will be a home game against Oklahoma on Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon with the television broadcast available on FS1.