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Mountaineers Incorporating ‘Respect All, Fear None’ Approach Against Penn State

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WVU Football LB Lee Kpogba

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – No one thinks the Mountaineers are going to beat Penn State. In fact, most don’t even believe West Virginia can compete with the Nittany Lions. But that’s just the way the WVU players like it.

Team leaders Zach Frazier, Aubrey Burks and Lee Kpogba all talked to the media to kickoff the first game week of the season and they all basically said the same thing when asked about being a heavy underdog. This West Virginia team prefers it this way.

Oddsmakers Say WVU Has Absolutely No Chance to Even Compete with Penn State

Frazier led the day off by being as blunt as possible and saying “I like being doubted” without hesitation. Burks was a bit more prophetic, offering a “respect all but fear none” response. Kopgba made it clear he’s telling the rest of the defense to use the doubters as motivation.

The mindset of the players days before kickoff reflects exactly what head coach Neal Brown has been saying all offseason. Brown feels the makeup of this group, maybe even more than his past teams, is one that collectively feels it’s been overlooked and is hungry to prove people wrong. He admitted being pissed off when he saw the Big 12 media picked his team to finish dead last in the conference. He even guaranteed that projection will end up being wrong.

“It gives you a little extra juice,” is how Director of Athletics Wren Baker is taking the negativity towards his football program.

WVU AD Wren Baker on Last Place Predictions: ‘It Gives You a Little Extra Juice’

The 2023 Mountaineers aren’t complaining though. They know they haven’t earned the right for anyone to believe in them, certainly not as a whole. “We weren’t very good,” said Kpogba about what he sees on film while watching the 2022 West Virginia defense.

WVU is very aware of what they will be up against on Saturday night. Brown has started off his evaluation of Penn State with a sigh and “we’re not easing into this” each of the past two weeks.

Penn State deserves the hype. West Virginia doesn’t. But if you ask the Mountaineers about what they think will happen on the field at Beaver Stadium, they’ll just give you a “we will find out” with a smile.

“We are ready to prove to everybody that we can compete and play at a high level,” said Kpogba about what WVU can do to gain the respect they are looking for.

In a related story, Mike Asti goes over the possible ceiling and floor for WVU this season.

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