West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown explained on Tuesday a whole lot about the team’s development program and how many of the past shining stars of Mountaineer football have etched their names in history after going through the program.
The program is exactly what it sounds like and propels walk-on’s and young players on Brown’s squad to push themselves and become better football players and better humans in all areas of their lives, not just football.
“The developmental program is something, after the 24th on that Wednesday the 25th is we’re going to make some decisions,” Brown said. “Who’s in the two deep, who’s ready to play special teams, who are the guys we want to start off as newcomers playing and who are the guys that just aren’t ready?”
The players in the program take a completely different mindset throughout the training and work themselves up from one block and keep stacking until they have a quality player ready to make a difference on the turf.
“And what we’ll do is those guys in the developmental program they go into an offseason mindset as far as in the weight room and for four days during the week, they don’t go to position meetings, that time is used in the weight room,” Brown said. “A lot of times those are usually first year guys, sometimes only second year offensive linemen or defensive linemen. And then we put transfers and two years in a row we’ve had really good leadership in that group.”
One of West Virginia’s current most important pieces to the puzzle is redshirt senior safety Alonzo Addae. Last season, Addae was able to put up some solid numbers through 10 games as he made 66 total tackles, picked off the quarterback a pair of times and jarred a ball loose on a forced fumble.
“The first year we were here was Alonzo Addae and what that did was really allowed him to have a voice in the team because he was a veteran in that group, he set the standard, he really pushed the younger guys and I think it helped that group.”
A player set to make a difference for the Mountaineers this season is Scottie Young who will play his redshirt year in 2021 and is set to take off and show coaches at the next level what kind of stuff he brings to the table.
“Scottie did the same last year and I thought it really paid off for him because once they changed the rule and he was able to play in the bowl game, he was so much stronger, and he was ready, in shape and ready to play due to going through that developmental lifting program and then for him,” Brown said. “I think he found his voice and he really found kind of a group because it’s hard, he transferred here right at the start and he knew he had to sit out, so he wasn’t traveling, he wasn’t necessarily in the mix as far as playing.”
Some more than others need to get ready and back to playing shape more quickly because they are at a disadvantage and are already a few years into their college careers but still need the attention and training in order to get better and play their best at the Division I level. Whether they are transfers or veteran Mountaineers, the program is crucial to getting them back on the field.
“There’s some guys that got to get ready, they don’t have the comfort of sitting around and waiting and a lot of those guys are in our secondary,” Brown said. “You think about Davis Mallinger we’ve got to get him ready, Saint McLeod we’ve got to get him better, Charles Woods he’s a transfer a little bit different but we’ve got to get him ready to play, Lance Dixon, DeShawn Stevens etc.”
(Top Photo: Ben Queen)