Morgantown, W.VA. – Football head coach Neal Brown met the media via Zoom Tuesday afternoon ahead of West Virginia’s first road trip for the football season. Brown and the Mountaineers travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma this weekend to take on a Cowboys team who visibly struggled to win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes with the hopes of avenging last year’s home loss.
Coach Brown’s squad attacked the bye week, staying in camp mode and making the most out of the early season week off. Brown quickly pointed out his respect for Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and what he has built in Stillwater, “What Coach Gundy has done with his alma mater is remarkable . . . Stillwater is a very tough place to play.”
Brown stated that Oklahoma State has an ability to mix and match on defense and have been known to be ‘solid’ on special teams, “They’ve always had talented specialists.” West Virginia’s defense will see a familiar face on the Cowboys offensive line, former Mountaineer Josh Sills. The Cowboys’ offense struggled last week as their starting quarterback went down early in the game and the team finished off the four quarters with true freshman Shane Illingworth.
Brown was asked about how Coaches Lesley and Addae did while sharing the play-caller role for West Virginia’s defense since mid-summer. Brown credits the duo with a great amount of experience and lots of faith from both the rest of the coaching staff and the players.
On former Mountaineer Josh Sills, the head coach was succinct and to the point; wishing his former player well but just not this week. “We’re gonna line up . . . wish him the best of luck. Not really in this game but (the) rest of the season. Hadn’t really thought of that (seeing Sills as a Cowboy).”
Brown say improvement from his team in their week one victory over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, but is still aware that more marked improvement is still to come as the season progresses, stating “The hope is that we’re better.”
Brown says the best way for him to see such marked improvement is to see if his team is ready to play versus the top teams in the conference, with Oklahoma State being one of those teams.
Finally, the head coach touched on the elephant in the proverbial room that is 2020: COVID-19 testing, procedure and protocols. Brown said that he feels a great sense of trepidation every time his team tests for the virus, with it being evident that the head coach waits anxiously to hear results (especially on Fridays of game week).
“We’re going to try to do the very best we can from a football program standpoint to follow every possible protocol and procedure that we can follow.”
Brown and the Mountaineers kickoff in Stillwater at 3:30 ET/2:30 CT Saturday, September 26 on ABC.