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Asti: Neal Brown Still Has Trust of Players, Which Matters Above All Else

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There’s something I need to now say concerning the Neal Brown era at West Virginia. And it’s only fair that I say this.

By no means does this mean the criticism around Neal Brown hasn’t been fair, but this is crystal clear right now – this WVU team is still playing hard for him. This group cares. This group isn’t playing like a team does if they don’t believe in their coach.

You could tell how relieved Brown was to finally have the ball bounce his team’s way after beating Baylor on a brisk Fall Thursday night under the lights in Morgantown. Does that mean Brown is simply just relieved because, while his team has struggled, they have also been unlucky at times this season? Or does that mean Brown is relieved, but also that he’s aware of the criticism and hearing it bothers him some? How can he not hear all the chatter when after each loss the possibility of WVU moving on from him is brought up? I just brought it myself recently.

Who Should WVU Hire as Head Coach if Neal Brown is Fired?

Now again, I’m not walking any of my past criticism back here. He’s still under .500 during his tenure at WVU. He still hasn’t won enough big games, although I think it’s fair to call that one against Baylor a big one even though the Bears lost their ranking the week before. And I’m sure there are plenty of WVU fans and fellow members of the media who wouldn’t be shocked if the Mountaineers turn around and lose to Texas Tech next Saturday. Brown still has plenty to prove, but he did show that the people he needs to trust him more than any other are still bought in and endorse his sales pitch of a climb.

A team does not play that fired up on defense, playing with their “hair on fire” as Jasir Cox put it, if they have tuned out the man leading them. A team does not work their butts off to correct their issues already deep into a season if they no longer want to play for their head coach. A team does not hang on and win a back and forth wild game if they are done. The Mountaineers are playing like a team that still believes and desperately wants to finish this season strong. They are playing like a team that wants a bowl game, even if some may say more than just getting into a bowl game, especially in year 4 of a tenure, should be expected of this program. This team is playing like they truly feel they are a good team and want to prove that to any doubters.

Asti: WVU Football Fans Should Expect More, But Need to be Reasonable

One thing I always promise to any fans, readers, viewers or listeners of any of my content anywhere is I will always be honest and fair. If someone deserves criticism, I won’t hesitate to say what needs to be said, regardless of anything. But if someone, as I feel Neal Brown does now, has earned praise, I have to express it too. There’s still plenty of season left and it’s still “a wait and see approach” for me with his seat hot, but if Brown can close this season on a high note, that may allow him to cling to a tough schedule or bad luck about the 2-3 start and then facto in those incoming recruiting classes and he may have a real case in his argument to keep trusting the climb of the WVU program.

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Mike Asti is an experienced media personality and journalist with a vast résumé and skillset, most notably with TribLIVE Radio, WPXI and 93.7 The Fan. Asti now serves as the Managing Editor of WV Sports Now, manages and serves as the lead host for Pittsburgh Sports Live and contributes to Steelers Now, Pittsburgh Sports Now and Nittany Sports Now. He also contributes to West Virginia's Metro News among other outlets.

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