Morgantown, W.VA. – Saturday afternoon West Virginia head football coach Neal Brown virtually met with the media to give a general update following the first full week of fall camp. Brown’s crew was off from practice Saturday and Sunday and will be back to football practice Monday.
Brown’s press conference expressed his condolences for Nicktroy Fortune, whose mother passed away Thursday morning unexpectedly. The cornerback is home with his family with his football family supporting him from Morgantown.
Brown also thanked West Virginia University President E.Gordon Gee for coming to practice to speak to the team last week. Gee was the team’s first, and only, visitor to a fall camp that is usually full of members of the media. Brown was asked later in his conference if he prefers having his practice closed to the media. Brown replied that his team misses the media there, having people at practice gives the team a reason to show out.
On the Big 12 conference’s decision to play football this fall, Brown was candid about his excitement. “I’m excited about it, that we’re staying the course . . . I really believe that we need to play . . . the collateral damage down the road could be worse.”
Practice this season is not just media-free, but the team has split into the Blue Group and the Gold Group which means more players are seeing more reps. At a normal practice, players have music pumping through the stadium, the overall feel is loud and almost raucous to help prepare for Saturdays in the fall. This season, there’s no music. Brown and staff are looking to prepare their team for a significantly quieter game day experience this fall.
The biggest upside to this split practice is the exposure and practice time younger players are seeing; something that wasn’t always an option. The flip side of the split is the difficulty of evaluation of players and the concern of the best of the best constantly lining up against one another.
Brown pointed out that his motto for practice, not just during camp but throughout the season was that everything leads up to Saturday; “You prepare during the week so you can perform on Saturday.”
Damn, I’m ready to see these Mountaineers perform on Saturdays.