West Virginia head coach Neal Brown spoke to the media about his team’s performance against Virginia Tech, as well as what he expects to improve on, while also previewing this week’s matchup against Oklahoma.
Virginia Tech Game
Brown opened his remarks thanking the fans for creating a great college football atmosphere against Virginia Tech, while also looking at the good and bad from the Virginia Tech game.
“I thought it was tremendous atmosphere for college football on Saturday,” Brown said.
Brown thought all three phases had good days, and showed a lot of positives.
On special teams, Brown said “We have to punt the ball more consistently,” adding that they had three bad punts on Saturday. “I thought Staley did a tremendous job on kickoffs,” Brown added. He also thought the punt coverage was really good.
On the defense, Brown said, “our situational awareness has to be better,” referring to the penalties from Saturday. Brown added, “I don’t think we handled the noise well. We have to be better communicating,” speaking of the long third down conversions Virginia Tech converted. Brown said he was happy of the sudden change after turnovers and responding to negative plays.
Brown said his offense played well, but did not like the execution down the stretch. Brown said the “two turnovers in the fourth quarter, and failing to put the game away,” was the biggest issue he had. Brown did like the fast start and feels the offense has started fast in all three games this season.
Preview for Oklahoma
Brown said Oklahoma will present a challenge. “It is a challenge in all three phases,” Brown said. He also talked about the level of talent on Oklahoma, whether it is special teams, offense, or defense.
Brown loves the chance to play against Oklahoma at night. “I think it’s a great opportunity for our program. ABC, primetime game, playing in one of the most tradition rich venues in college football.”
“Offensively, Lincoln (Riley) does a great job,” Brown said. “We did not do a very good job of stopping them in 2019 when we played them or the few years before that.” On the talent they have at skill positions, Brown said, “I think they may have the best receiver group in the country. They have an All-Big 12 player at tight end and they have a Heisman trophy candidate at quarterback.”
Brown said the Sooner defense has a lot of talent up front and they are experienced on all levels of the defense.”Their d-line are difference makers,” Brown said. “They are special guys that are playing on their defensive line.” He added that Oklahoma is very “experienced at linebacker and in the secondary as well.”
Doege and Greene at QB
Brown said he hopes to continue to work in both Jarret Doege and Garrett Greene in at quarterback. He says there is a way to work them both in but is still figuring out the best way to do it, as it is hard for the offensive line to adapt and change to a different style.
“You can’t ask [the offensive line] to do a bunch of different things schematically, it’s not fair to them,” Brown said. “And so that is where the challenge comes How can we present differently to the defense with what each quarterback. And how you rotate them within a game, there’s a feel to it.” Brown later added, “there’s a science to it. We don’t have it completely figured out yet, but we are working through it.”
On Jared Bartlett’s Performance
Brown said Bartlett has had a great year and just got off to a slow start this year. “He had a great summer, a really good fall camp. And he did not play well his first two games for whatever reason. Last week Tuesday and Wednesday practices were really good,” Brown said of Bartlett’s performance.
Brown and the Mountaineers will travel to Norman, Oklahoma, and face the No. 4 ranked Sooners this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography