Morgantown, W.VA. – Thursday, March 12, 2020. That’s the last day Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown saw his entire team together in one place, let alone at practice together. Friday, August 21 was the first time since March, with Saturday being the second time. Coach Brown met with the media Saturday afternoon virtually via Zoom to answer some questions and give some information on the second full week of fall camp in Morgantown.
The full team practice days start with a virtual all-team zoom meeting before practice. An all-team practice takes place before breaking back up into groups and eventually making their way into the indoor practice field for meetings with chairs spaced out 6-feet apart.
Brown has his team back into their split squads for indoor practice film review.
The Mountaineers football program has conducted 150 COVID-19 tests, with zero positive results. Brown pointed out the importance of this, while stressing that the next two weekends will be critical for his time. Students are returning to campus currently, classes start back on Monday and Labor Day weekend is just two weeks away.
While the Mountaineers have been working out in split squads, the Blue group and the Gold group, the past two days showed that while there has been improvement made there’s still more room for growth. Brown said the offensive line is making good progress and they are slowly getting better day by day.
West Virginia’s quarterback situation is still down to Austin Kendall and Jarrett Doege, but Brown pointed out that Garrett Greene is someone who will be the guy down the road. “He’s the guy place your futures bet on.”
The next full two weeks will be crucial for Brown’s players, likely more so than years past. As Brown stated, “Poor decisions may be more exposed than normal.” Players will need to remember that their actions now have far greater consequences in today’s society as one on or off campus party now has much larger potential ramifications.
Brown went on to commend Athletic Director Shane Lyons and the NCAA Oversight Committee for their decision to grant an extra year of eligibility to current student-athletes due to COVID-19. “A lot of credit goes to Shane Lyons”
Finally, the head coach discussed the lack of fans allowed to attend the season opener on September 12 against Eastern Kentucky University. On the decision, Brown said “I’m disappointed that we’re not gonna have fans. I’m probably more disappointed for our fans than I am for our players . . . but I understand the decision.”
Brown went on to point out that the decision will be harder for the fans than it will be for his team, “If LeBron James can play in front of no fans, I think the Mountaineers can line up and execute and be okay.”