Morgantown, W.VA. – Monday afternoon felt almost back to business for the Mountaineers as head football coach Neal Brown addressed the media via Zoom following the first day of fall camp. Coach Brown’s media address emphasized his goal for the weeks leading up to the season.
“Stay Well, Get Ready” is the overarching theme to prepare the Mountaineers for fall football, whenever it may be. Brown admitted he didn’t know when that first football game would be, but he did state that his team would be healthy and ready.
Coach Brown pointed out that Monday’s first day of camp was one of the happiest days of his career, being reunited with his team, players and staff to play the sport they all love. “It’s been a tough lsat five months,” Brown remarked.
Brown pointed out that he’s planning for football and wants there to be football this fall. Brown made a point of saying “Our team wants to play, our coaches want to coach” early on in the conference; pointing out that the goal at West Virginia is to have football in just a few weeks. The head coach was moved by the social media posts from college football players across the country over the last 24 hours, noting that he stayed up later than normal to keep reading through the positive social media posts.
The Mountaineers football program currently has zero cases of COVID-19 and the goal is to keep it that week as players return to a new season of normal. The head coach pointed out that the two player groups for fall camp, Blue Group and Gold Group, were put in place strategically to keep players with groups of teammates they live near and already spend non-football time with. In a sense, the Mountaineers are working on their own bubble.
Brown went on to say that if there’s not football in the fall and players are sent home, there is the concern that the players will not be as safe as they are on campus. Highlighting testing, surroundings and technology the players have access to while on campus; the head coach wants to make sure that if the fall season does not happen there is a plan for player safety going forward.
Brown also noted that if the decision is made to not have football in the fall, there should be a real plan and decision set in place for football happening, stating “What’s the plan if we don’t plan? How do we handle that?”
Finally, the coach noted that the team that showed up for Monday’s first day of camp is the best team in terms of football knowledge going into camp that he’s ever had. Ever the optimist, Brown managed to find some good in the last 4.5 months; showing the growth in football knowledge his team has had.
The Big 12 is scheduled to have a meeting with athletic directors, presidents and university officials Tuesday at some point to help to determine the next step in fall football and fall sports in general.