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Four Downs With Neal Brown | Educating Players on Virginia Tech Rivalry

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West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown | Kevin Kinder

Following a 66-0 win over Long Island on Saturday, West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown spoke with the media on Tuesday afternoon as the team gets ready to resume a historic rivalry with No. 15 Virginia Tech.

Coaching Staff Teaching Players The History of The Rivalry With Virginia Tech

Brown was asked about his thoughts about the rivalry and what the rivalry means to the university. The 41-year old commented that it’s not fair for him to judge this rivalry since it is the first time that he will be involved in it. Brown did mention that the coaching staff will spend more time on Tuesday educating the players on the rivalry and what the Black Diamond Trophy means to both schools.

“From a fan base standpoint, the rivalry sticks out more than the players and just because it hasn’t been played on an annual basis since the early 2000s,” Brown said.

Brown Comments on QB Garrett Greene and What His Thoughts Were From Saturday

“I think it was a mixed bag,” Brown said.

Greene finished Saturday’s game with 57 passing yards, running for 97 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

“First of all, what I was really proud of was he tends to get really excited but I thought he handled himself,” Brown said.

Despite Greene showing his ability to run the ball, Brown doesn’t want to contain Greene’s run game but doesn’t want to over do it.

“It’s going to be a mixture. You don’t want to contain what’s the best thing about him, which is his ability to freelance and ability to make plays on the run,” Brown said. “You also don’t want to break it out every single time and so we’re working on finding a happy medium.”

Virginia Tech Likes To Run The Ball

In their first two games against North Carolina and Middle Tennessee State, the Hokies have totaled 351 rushing yards. That would make them have more rushing yards than passing yards in the early stages of the season. Quarterback Braxton Burmeister leads the team in rushing yards with 94 yards. As a team, the Hokies have rushed the ball into the end zone five times in two games.

“They want to run the ball and I don’t think they’re trying to hide that,” Brown said. “They want to run the football, they want to get big plays. Burmeister is a dual threat, he’s really fast and that sticks out on film. He’s running away from people and you don’t see that from a whole lot of quarterbacks.”

It will be an interesting battle on Saturday between Tech’s run offense with West Virginia’s run defense.

The Patience of Sam James is Finally Paying Off

For some time now, WR Sam James has been dealing with overthinking about his ability on the field to catch footballs and make plays. So far in his two games to start out the year, the redshirt junior has recorded 120 receiving yards with two touchdowns against Long Island.

Brown is proud of James and noted that the patience on him was all worth it.

“I think when guys have talent, it’s easier to have patience with,” Brown said.

James — who has been apart of all of Brown’s teams during his tenure at WVU — seems like he’s finally getting it together.

“I think the great lesson for him and really for the people on our team is his investment has been so hot, that he’s reaping the benefits and he just worked; he’s worked out. The last nine of a half months, his investment has been extremely high and so it’s starting to show up on game days.”

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently writes for The Daily Athenaeum and is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year with Blue Gold Sports—an USA Today credentialed outlet. He is from Cincinnati, OH.

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