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WVU HC Neal Brown Suggests OTA’s in College Football



Morgantown, WV – It’s mid-August on a Tuesday afternoon and West Virginia head football coach Neal Brown is standing at the podium after a morning practice in the midst of fall camp. It’s towards the end of his press conference and he explains how he gets the most out of the time given to prepare for the first game of the season.

Brown begins to tell everyone on how you must “get the most out of your walkthroughs”, but then he starts to take a different turn.

“Similar thought process when we talked about the transfer portal,” said Brown. “I’m not in the mode of creating legislation. I want to know the rules are and then we’ll play them, and we’ll use them to the best of our ability and that’s what we’re doing. We’ll practice every time they allow us to practice. Every time that they say we can scrimmage, we’ll scrimmage. After that, we’re going to get the most out of these walkthroughs and meetings we can.”

Then, he finished by saying, “They give you enough time.”

You could tell Neal Brown still had something to say while he stood at the podium, pondering on how college football could improve their product and it starts with fall camp.

“I’ll tell you the rule – the suggestion I’d make,” stated Brown. “I wish we could do OTA’s (organized team activities). I’ve been watching the NFL Network at night and they have those practices where they bring – I saw where the Bills and the Panthers – I saw a picture of David (Sills) and Will (Grier) together. They do those practices.”

To provide a little bit of context. He is talking about the joint practices NFL teams have. In Brown’s reference, The Buffalo Bills traveled to Charlotte ahead of their preseason game Friday night to practice against each other.

As for the picture, it might be from this tweet.

“I think at college, you should be able to do that.” continued Brown. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an FCS school or a division two school. I think you would be able to come up, and in a controlled setting, be able to do seven on seven – maybe it’s not a full scrimmage, I’m okay with that. But maybe you can do a seven on seven period. Maybe you can do a blitz pickup. Maybe you can do some team periods that are controlled, where you’re not going against your own guys.”

Brown then explained it’s tough to tell what you have going into the season.

“Because to be honest in college football and if anybody tells you anything different, I don’t know,” continued Brown. “I don’t know about it. Because when you go against yourself every single day in spring and every single day in fall camp, you don’t really know. Like if you don’t score on offense, is that cause you’re really good on defense or because you’re really bad on offense? I don’t know. If you score every time, is that mean you’re really good on offense or not very good on defense? I don’t know.”

There is a lot of potential with this idea, especially with FCS schools. This weekend will be the second scrimmage for most of the teams around the country and it marks two weeks before college football kicks off. As for the Mountaineers, they are playing under the lights Friday night to add a little different atmosphere to the monotony of fall camp.

WVU opens up its 2019 season with FCS opponent James Madison. Now instead of playing them in the first game of the season, what if they played them this weekend? JMU could start the OTA’s with WVU on Wednesday and Thursday, walkthroughs on Friday and scrimmage on Saturday.

They could hold it like they do a spring game where it’s a continuous running clock or play a full preseason game that doesn’t count against your overall record. There are a ton of benefits from a coaching standpoint.

Athletic departments and the NCAA love bringing in money so this can be fully exploited to bring in extra revenue. Fans can attend the preseason game and it could be televised.

Of course, if they were ever to put in such a rule, they would have to start with balancing out schedules. Whether it’s every conference has to play nine conference games, plus every power five team playing a total of 10 power five opponents and two group of five opponents.

It’s easy to debate these types of topics, particularly due to the fact the SEC seems to schedule two FCS opponents every year.

The other point Neal Brown made is, figuring out just how good a team is during spring or fall camp. This really applies to WVU. This is a team that lost most of its production and brought in a whole new coaching staff.

You can spot the best players on the team by watching the spring game and practice, along with figuring out quarterback and receiver connections, but to presume whether a team is good or not is a different story.

Coaches can simulate game situations repeatedly, but until players are put in front of 60 thousand plus fans, you just don’t know how they will respond.

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