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WVU Coaches Discuss Last Play of Houston Game, Look to Move On



WVU Football HC Neal Brown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – No matter what else happened in the game, the WVU coaching staff knew going into their weekly press conferences on Monday that the focus would be on the last play. But there was a constant theme in what they said that made it easy to know how they feel about why the Mountaineers lost on Thursday night.

WVU head coach Neal Brown set the tone with his opening statement. “Never experienced a loss like that. The game should’ve never came down to a Hail Mary. I felt very strongly about that after the contest. We had our regular defense in because we knew they had two plays,” Brown said right away. It was clear losing the way West Virginia did was a tough pill to swallow, but it was also evident that Brown knows the game was lost countless other times and should have never come down to one moment like that.

Brown pointed to poor performances from the defense and special teams as why his team eventually lost to Houston. “Defensively, our best players didn’t play very well,” said Brown. Regardless what anyone may think, Brown said he and his team are moving on. Brown actually said he will not discuss the Houston result again and his mindset is just fully on preparing for Oklahoma State.

Something he did address before it could even be asked was not having his tallest player out on the field to defend the Hail Mary. Brown does not regret keeping the 6-foot-7 Kole Taylor on the sidelines, even citing when players not used to be in those situations have messed up in the past.

WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley agrees with Brown in regards to not utilizing Taylor, offering a more detailed explanation. He pointed out that being tall is not the only thing that matters. Lesley feels the guys with best vertical jumps were out there, most notably Hershey McLaurin. He also says they have not practiced defending a Hail Mary with Taylor so it wasn’t a thought to use him in a game.

Offensive coordinator Chad Scott enters the new week under a bit of different circumstances, since unlike the defense, the offense had its best overall game despite the loss. Scott still knows suffering a loss like that can be demoralizing for a team, especially dealing with the emotions of first thinking they won in dramatic fashion after Hudson Clement’s touchdown reception to take the lead with 12 seconds left on the game clock.

“Man, it’s tough, but we’ve got to move on. All the opportunities we had to capitalize and make the game come out our way, we didn’t take advantage of it. We aren’t going to let that define us and what this season is going to be,” said Scott.

No matter whether or not fans like what the coaches have to say after such a divesting loss, nothing can be done about it now. Regardless what anyone thinks, West Virginia is not going to be made 5-1 and 3-0 in conference play entering the week instead of 4-2 and 2-1.

The reality of the situation is WVU still has an opportunity to make 2023 a quality season. The first opportunity to accomplish that goal will be back at home this coming Saturday when the Mountaineers welcome Oklahoma State to Morgantown. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm ET and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

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