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Neal Brown Reflects on Trying Times, Talks Systematic Changes at WVU

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WVU Football HC Neal Brown

To say WVU head coach Neal Brown experienced a roller coaster of emotions over the last year would be an understatement. On Thursday, Brown was open about the disappointments of the 2022 season causing him to self reflect for 2023 and what’s ahead in 2024.

While appearing on the Smothered & Covered Podcast with Barrett Sallee, Brown explained how he handled being on the hot seat and what led to getting the program back on the right track.

“We won two of the last three games, but we were 5-7 and missed a bowl game, and it was just disappointing. We didn’t perform anywhere close to what I thought we could offensively. And defensively, we simply weren’t good enough,” said Brown.

“It really made me look in the mirror and evaluate what I was doing as the leader of the organization.”

Brown then elaborated even more about the changes he made, some forcing him to switch a mentality that worked for him in the past before arriving in Morgantown in 2019.

“Lots of the process changed [after 2022]. I asked myself: What’s necessary to win and what am I good at? And what’s necessary is roster management, and raising money for NIL,” Brown said. “I also took a more hands-on approach with the offense, and we went all in with a dual-threat quarterback. We recruited both Nicco Marchiol and Garrett Greene out of high school, and both of those guys can run. That really helped us lead the Power 5 in rushing yards.”

While much of the focus is always on the offense, Brown also discussed what led to the defense bouncing back in 2023 after letting the team down the year before.

“We changed schematically what we did defensively. We were one of the top defenses in the country in 2020, but then went off the rails in 2022. We switched to a three-down front, and I feel like that gave us an opportunity to be successful in this league. There were definitely system and philosophy changes there,” Brown offered honestly.

But all of that is in the past and Brown is focused on continuing the climb of the Mountaineers into 2024 and beyond. Brown knows Garrett Greene has to be great for West Virginia to take another step in the fall, using words like “dynamic” and “playmaker” when asked to respond to his quarterback being ranked among the top 10 in the country by major outlets like PFF.

In case you missed it, Neal Brown appeared on a past show beyond his normal press conferences with WV Sports Now’s Mike Asti to discuss some of these same topics.

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