The West Virginia football team stomped all over Long Island on Saturday afternoon and afterward head coach Neal Brown met with the media to discuss the victory and look ahead ultimately to next weekend in Virginia Tech and the challenge that poses.
The Mountaineer defense certainly played better than it did a week ago at Maryland when they surrendered 30 points to the Terrapins, and that’s the kind of progression head coach Neal Brown likes to see from his unit.
“Starting on the defensive side of the ball I thought we flew around, we got lined up, our communication was improved from a week ago. I thought we did a better job other than that drive right before half…. But I thought we played better team defense,” Brown said.
West Virginia began the night with a bang as Winston Wright Jr. was able to return the opening kickoff 90 yards to put his Mountaineers ahead early.
“Winston is turning into a real threat there on kickoff return, I thought he did a nice job obviously started the game off with a bang there with a big return and we blocked that really well,” Brown said. “We’ve blocked kickoff returns really well for three years now.”
Brown talked about second string quarterback Garrett Greene and his promising performance on Saturday.
“Garrett did some things, we had the two first drives of the game scripted for him play wise,” Brown said. “He’s fun to watch, he’s got some juice about him, I thought he did a good job of creating some plays, some of those didn’t need to be creative, he could have thrown them in rhythm. But he did, he showed some growth.”
The head coach also went into detail about some other younger Mountaineers that are still on the climb.
“Kaden Prather’s a guy that’s really talented, he may be as talented as anyone in our program and we wanted to get him work I thought he did a nice job, he’s going to continue to be a factor for us,” Brown said. “Ja’Quay Hubbard is one of our most improved players and he’s in that backup role right now but another year in the weight room he’s going to be a guy that has a chance for pushing for a starting position,” said Brown of the youngsters.”
Other young West Virginia players Brown mentioned were offensive linemen Wyatt Milum, Jordan White and Hubbard, running backs Tony Mathis (back from injury) and Justin Johnson. There were also many defensive players such as Andrew-Wilson Lamp, Davis Mallinger, Saint McLeod, Aubrey Burks and DeShawn Stevens.
“But really, over the last 20 months or so this is the first time he’s (Greene) really been locked in on football only and work fundamentals and how to go through progressions and his athletic ability just wasn’t enough because he’s relied on that and so it’s a growth process with him,” Brown said. “His spring was up and down we felt like he had a better summer but in fall camp he was still up and down.”
Brown would never want to underestimate the value of a win even if it’s out of conference and FCS football so winning is always a very deserved and well earned achievement.
“I told our team winning is hard and this is a game that obviously we should have won and we did and we took care of business which isn’t always the case you can look across,” Brown said. “One thing I was proud of our team was we played quality football, it wasn’t sloppy, there were a couple fourth down’s you’d like to get offensively but there realty weren’t a whole bunch of penalties and so it was clean football which I was proud of.”
Clean and good football could go hand in hand for Brown’s squad moving forward into their final non-conference matchup of the season against Virginia Tech next weekend. Only time will tell if the Mountaineers can continue on their winning ways against the Hokies.