Neal Brown not Discouraged After Loss to Mizzou
|3rd down efficiency||7-16||7-15|
|4th down efficiency||0-1||1-1|
|Yards per pass||5.2||5.4|
|Yards per rush||0.9||4.6|
Columbia, MO – When West Virginia head coach Neal Brown addressed the media following the abysmal 38-7 loss to the Missouri Tiger Saturday afternoon, he didn’t sugar coat it.
“Nothing earth-shattering here, we were completely outplayed and outcoached in all phases today,” stated Brown.
Missouri was upset in their season opener last week at Wyoming. They led 14-0 early, then gave up 27 points in the second quarter on their way to a 37-31 loss.
“A lot of credit to coach Odom,” said Brown. “If you look at it, I think one of the markings of a really good coach is how you perform after a poor performance and throughout his career, he’s really bounced back well. So, credit to him, credit to their staff and credit to their players. They played with an edge the whole time. They were ready to go.”
The West Virginia offense appeared to be getting into a rhythm midway through first quarter till a bad read by quarterback Austin Kendall led to an interception for the Mountaineer’s first turnover of the season. Then he followed it up with another one.
“The first one, he went to the wrong spot,” explained Brown. “They played us in a one-high look. He’s supposed to go to the right he goes to the left. The second one is bad luck. It gets tipped.”
The Tiger’s scored touchdowns after both picks and led 17-0 early in the second quarter. Missouri led Wyoming 14-0 after the first quarter a week ago before the Cowboys gashed the Mizzou defense for 162 yards on the ground on their way to a 27-point second quarter. Wyoming went on to rush for 297 yards in the game.
The Mountaineers were hoping to get their running game going against that same Missouri defense after only rushing for 34 yards against James Madison last week. Unfortunately for WVU, they never found it.
“At the end of the day you got to win the point of contact,” explained Brown. “We did some things to them that Wyoming had success with, obviously they were better prepared this week. But, we’re a team right now that really struggles to run the ball and if you really struggle to run the ball then they can pin their ears back and come, and you get in a lot of long distant situations and nobody’s going to be any good in second and long and third and long the whole game.”
“Everybody that plays us is going to do this,” said Brown. “They’re going to go into some kind of front where they make us block one on one situations. They’re going to put one more in the box and they’re going to play man coverage. Until we win one on one blocks until we win one on one coverage and until we break tackles, we’re going to struggle. Football is a pretty easy number game. You got one handing it off and one running it. So, you got nine on 11 and so you got to win. That’s what people are doing. That’s what they’ve done the last two weeks. That’s what next week’s opponents going to do. They’re going to make us win one on ones and we haven’t done that. It was exposed in a bad way today.”
It’s no secret that West Virginia has had a lot of turnover from a year ago and although there is talent, its young and inexperienced.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Brown. “I’ve been saying that really since I got here and that’s not negative. That’s where we’re at. We have some deficiencies. I’ve been pretty open about those. They were exposed last week at certain spots but this week we played against a team that’s got several NFL players and they were fully taken advantage of.”
There didn’t seem to any improvement on offense from a week ago. Of course, it’s hard to tell some minor details considering the level of talent from week one to week two, but only rushing for two yards after three quarters, it will be tough to find.
“The deal is, we got to get better, stated Brown. “What I told our team at halftime, and I mean this, this is the first real adversity that we’ve had. This is the first loss we’ve had. This is the first time we’ve really been beat from a physical standpoint. Now the question is, what are we made of? And, where do we go from here?
It’s really hard to find positives in a game like this, however, the defense shut out the Missouri offense in the second half. Now one may argue that the game was in hand and that the Tigers didn’t have to do much considering the WVU offense was showing no signs of life going three and out to start the second half, but the head coach gave some praise after the game.
“I was encouraged in the second half on defense and special teams,” said Brown. “Now offensively, I’m not sure yet. Time will tell but it doesn’t get any easier. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We got to go back to work. We got to get these young guys better and it will start next week against a really good NC State team.”
West Virginia will play North Carolina State Saturday at Mountaineer Field with kickoff set for noon.