Morgantown, W.Va – Watch any West Virginia game this season and you’ll notice something different about the Mountaineers’ sideline.
It’s the energy.
Since the start of the 2019 season, the Mountaineers’ sideline has been about as entertaining as the games, sometimes more so if you take the Missouri loss into consideration. Head coach Neal Brown has spoken of his team’s “Juice Squad” since the start of fall practice with many coaches getting in on the juice.
Brown’s regime as head ball coach has been full of restructure since January. Not only did the team get an entirely new coaching staff, but the mentality surrounding Mountaineer football has shifted. Coach Brown has been adamant his players play with a team mentality, with an all-for-one momentum driving every play.
It’s an idea that has been around Mountaineer football before, with Coach Don Nehlen giving his players grey t-shirts emblazoned with “TEAM” on them, a simple way to point out the importance of playing as a team. Kennedy McKoy was spotted wearing a “ONE TEAM” t-shirt at the start of the season, showing that Brown’s ideology may come from the same football book of beloved Don Nehlen.
Brown’s Mountaineers have turned the sideline into a secondary show for home games this season. Since revamping the team mentality in the office season, with coaches getting in on the pre-game and mid-game hype, the sidelines are something to watch.
The “Juice Squad” as they’ve been dubbed this season is constantly engaged in their game. Brown has had a “Juice Squad” player of the week for each game, and you can find almost all of the players fully committed to supporting one another along the sideline for all four quarters of the game. For fans in the stadium, the energy on the sideline is nothing short of electric. For those watching from home, you get the idea that this team is really a team; together through thick and thin, good and bad.
Towels are being waved and tossed in the air, players and coaches together are jumping, dancing and trying to constantly motivate one another for all sixty minutes of the game. Coach Al Pogue has been one of the more “juiced up” coaches throughout the season, always ready to get right into a celebration or a moment of motivation when needed. Regardless of the score or time left the players are always on the sideline cheering on one another, motivating and pumping up those on the field and even those on the stands.
Players and fans alike feed of the energy of the stadium, the team, the crowd. Look at the energy from the first part of the NC State game in September. The crowd was electric and the team was hyped up. While the Mountaineers may be climbing an uphill battle this season, the energy they are bringing to the sidelines shows how ready this team is to get to success, and stay successful.
The energy, the “juice” is there, and this team is ready to show it.