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Asti: Neal Brown, West Virginia Football Should Tune Out Noise



WVU Football HC Neal Brown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va – When things are bad, they can get better or they can get worse. That’s the case in life, and that’s also the case for the West Virginia football program right now. There’s only way for the Mountaineers to be able to stay focused on improving – to simply tune out the noise.

Fans may not enjoy when a coach or player offers a response about criticism by just saying they aren’t hearing it or that they unplug to block it out. Fans, and even admittedly at times media, may prefer if they could hear a detailed answer and full reaction to something like a prominent former player and alum labeling the team as a disappointment, but that’s not what happened and that’s actually a good thing.

WVU head coach Neal Brown brushed off my question about if he was aware of Pat McAfee’s comments on ESPN. Brown said he was not aware of them and that he doesn’t watch TV or scroll on social media. I’m not here to argue if Brown is telling the truth or not. I have no proof to say he’s not, so I have to take him at his word. In all fairness to Brown, he’s been honest, kind, polite and professional in all of my interactions with him, and from what I have heard from others too.

Honestly, Brown that question needed to be asked, but Brown answered it how he should answer something like that. Nothing matters beyond what the people inside the facility and on the practice field think about the team. And I’m obviously referring to the players, coaches and support staff to be clear. If they give up and don’t believe, things could unravel and get much worse. But if they stay true to the plan and continue to believe the loss to Texas Tech was not an accurate representation of who they are, they then have a fighting chance to generate some improved vibes about the team.

“I refuse to accept that’s who we are,” said Brown early on in his weekly press conference to recap last week and preview TCU. “We will be better,” Brown then added. Some fans may roll their eyes at those remarks since it is year 4 and he has said similar things in the past, but it’s what he has to say. This WVU team has also showed that, while they have weaknesses, they can certainly be better than a 48-10 beat down at the hands of team that had the same record they did entering the game.

Asti: West Virginia Football at Crossroads, Can Write Own Narrative

I have been as critical of the Neal Brown tenure as anyone who covers the team, but I wrote after the Baylor win that the team was still playing hard for him. Then, the night in Lubbock happened. But Brown doesn’t need McAfee to tell him his team has been disappointing. He knows. He’s no doubt more disappointed than anyone. Brown doesn’t need media members like myself saying he’s on the hot seat or that something has to eventually give.

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

He is aware. He feels that, even if he won’t admit it publicly. He’s human. By no means does any of that mean the criticism hasn’t been fair or that anyone should stay quiet. It just means that Brown flipping out and creating a viral clip in response to my question would not helped to create any sense of stability. In fact, it may have then appeared as if the lack of big wins and the embarrassing performances were getting to him so much that he was not equipped to keep leading this team. There’s no valid excuse for the current state of affairs, and the head coach isn’t making any, but dwelling in the noise won’t help matters.

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