West Virginia head coach Neal Brown spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon. Brown spoke about the upcoming matchup against Maryland and gave an update on some roster decisions from the end of fall camp.
Brown is very excited and happy to be at this juncture, with Week 1 just four days away.
“Grateful to open the season. I told our staff this morning and I’ll share with our players this afternoon when we get together, I think we need to find joy in coaching and playing this time of year,” Brown said.
Brown likes the challenge of being on the road to start the season, especially after not winning a single game on the road last season.
“I’m glad we’re on the road to start off. We had some struggles there last year, so we’re looking to play much improved than we did a year ago on the road.”
Brown was very impressed with Maryland’s receivers, including sophomore Rakim Jarrett.
“Their skill players are really talented,” Brown said. “Receiver wise, very talented, maybe as talented as anybody we’re going to play this year. It starts for them at receiver with (Dontay) Demus and Jarrett and I think those guys are NFL players.”
Brown later added “[Jarrett’s] super talented and I expect him to be more comfortable than he was a year ago. He’s a threat. We’ve got to locate him. We know they’re going to try and get him the ball a bunch of different ways. They lined him up [in] multiple positions last year and I think he will be even more of a focal point for them this year.”
Brown is looking for production from his offensive line, even though they are not as deep as they thought they would be. Brown said, “we are a work in progress as far as the offensive line goes. We are not as deep as we would like to be. But those guys that have been in our program, they’re starting to show some signs of strength and development.”
Earlier in fall camp, Brown had mentioned there was a competition for the kicking job, between Casey Legg, Evan Staley, and Tyler Sumpter. According to Brown, Legg will be in charge of field goals, while Staley will be on kickoff duties.
“[Legg] won the job in fall camp,” Brown said. What [Staley] has been able to do in just under 10 months from a really severe knee injury. What he’s been able to do as far as coming back and kicking, and he’s going to handle our kickoff duties. I think we all need to appreciate and he needs to appreciate and be able to perform at a high level. Casey (Legg) has just been really consistent through fall camp. He’s done a nice job of changing ball flight, getting it up higher. The thing I really like is that he’s grounded in all aspects of his life.”
As for preparing for Maryland, with them only having played five games last year, and having new coordinators on both sides of the ball, Brown knows how important it is to stick with West Virginia’s game plan.
Brown said, “your game plan goes into what are you best at. Coming out of fall camp, you rep what you are best at. Coming out of fall camp, what were we the very best at and who do we want to feature. And so we take the concepts or the schemes that were best at leaving fall camp and the players that we want to highlight and that’s what we want to focus on.”
Brown then added on what he expects Maryland’s defense might do, saying he doesn’t know, but West Virginia has to focus on themselves.
“Guessing at best at what they’re going to do defensively. It’s just a guess. We don’t have 100% knowledge in what they are going to do. So I think that we have to focus on our players and our schemes that we have the most confidence in and that we have the most success in and that’s what we will use going into the first contest.”
Brown concluded his conference saying, “I think our fans will travel well.”