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Neal Brown is Searching for Positives in a Negative Situation

Cody Nespor

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West Virginia head coach Neal Brown does not know when, or if, he will get to see his team again this Spring or even this Summer.

The coronavirus outbreak has the whole sports world is a state of uncertainty and the NCAA is certainly no different. Talking with reporters via video Thursday morning, Brown detailed just how little is certain about how the coming month will play out from a football perspective.

“Now we’re getting to the point, whenever we do get to go ahead to have football activity, what’s that look like?” Brown asked. “If we have to do it remotely, what’s that look like? How do we handle them when we get the majority of our team back here? What does it look like if we are going to have OTAs, how do we manage that, what does that look like from our perspective? What if we don’t get them until right at Fall camp, what does that change as far as that goes?

“You want to have a plan, but you don’t want to get too carried away with it in terms of time investment because you just don’t know. But you do want to have those thoughts and you want to have things you can go to immediately.”

Brown said he and his staff are trying just to do whatever they can right now as they wait for WVU, the Big 12 or the NCAA to make decisions about the immediate future. Right now there is a dead period where Brown and the other coaches are not to even talk about football to players. Even with that restriction, Brown said they are trying to keep in daily contact with every player on the team.

Despite the situation being very negative, from a football perspective and beyond, Brown said he is trying to pull positives out of it that his players can learn from.

“Tremendous challenges present tremendous opportunities,” Brown said. “Nobody controls these circumstances, we control how we respond. I think good things come out of, not that anything good’s come out of this virus, but our responses can be good.”

This can be a period where WVU’s players can take on more accountability and learn to be leaders, according to Brown.

“As you go through the process of building a program, and that’s what we’re doing right now, you eventually want to go from a coach-led team to a player-led team. We’re having to do that probably quicker than we imagined and maybe we were ready,” Brown said. “This break here is going to prove if we were ready or not because we’re going to have to be a player-led team in a lot of different manners. I’m excited to see how the leadership on our team reacts to this.”

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Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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