Following a successful week of practice, West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown spoke with the media on Saturday afternoon.
Team Still Dealing With Disciplinary Issues From Last Season
Last season, one of the weaknesses of the Mountaineers was the in-game discipline that would result in bonehead mistakes. On both sides of the ball, the line would be off-sides or players would not know how much time was on the play clock. Small things like that added up a lot of 5-yard penalties for the Mountaineers. Brown and staff have made it evident that they’re trying to improve on the stupid mistakes and become an all-around smarter team on the field.
During practice on Saturday, the team scrimmaged with live reps and officials. Brown wanted the refs to be very strict on his team to improve the penalty errors.
“We’ve got to continue to be a more disciplined team, there were a lot of penalties today by the crew,” Brown said. “We had a full crew here and I told them to call it really, really tight and they did. We got exposed on some things from a discipline standpoint.”
Offensive Line Progressing Very Well
As the summer progresses, Brown has stated that the offensive line continues to improve behind sophomore Zach Frazier. Frazier, last season as a freshman, was able to come right in as a starter and looked like a veteran. Now, Frazier truly will begin leading the line this season.
“It’s really been Zach Frazier being the leader out there, we’ve got more continuity [as] the same seven guys probably are rotating with the ones there,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of trust within that unit.”
Brown also gave praise to Jordan White and Wyatt Milum on Saturday. White has been rotating from guard to center throughout camp, just getting reps in at different positions at the line. Milum is an incoming freshman and Brown had a lot of positives for the young guard.
“The thing I love about Wyatt is that he plays with a motor. He plays hard and is extremely athletic,” Brown said. “He stays in good football position all the time.”
Decisions Being Pushed Until Aug. 24
Many positions have talks about which players will take the lead role in leading that position. For WVU, this includes second and third-string decisions. Brown said that the team plans on continuing to evaluate each position and making a final decision on Aug. 24.
“We’re going go right through the 24th,” Brown said. “So we’ll go Friday night under the lights and have another good run—very similar to today—and then we’ll go Tuesday, the 24th, and we won’t tackle.
Defense Putting Better Pressure on QBs
On Saturday, Brown made an emphasis to give the defense credit in his opening statement. The third-year coach at WVU explained how much improved the defense was progressing as to getting to the quarterback and gave sophomore Akheem Mesidor a lot of credit for leading the defensive line.
“Defensively, I thought we got pressure on the quarterback, probably more pressure today than we had during the first week,” Brown said. “I thought Akheem Mesidor continues his climb. I think he’s got a chance to be special before it is all said and done.”