After losing in the final seconds at Oklahoma, head coach Neal Brown talked about how proud he is of his team as well as what he thought of the way his team performed on both sides of the ball.
Losing is tough, and Brown knows it. Brown’s first statements to the media discussed how proud he was of his team despite the outcome.
“I love our guys, I love our staff, I love our players,” Brown said. “I thought they fought their ass off for four quarters. That was a tough physical football game. I thought we went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma here in their backyard.”
Brown then emphasized his feeling about the game saying, “tough loss, but proud of our guys.”
The defense played really well throughout the game. They limited Oklahoma to only 16 points scored, and despite the loss, Brown knows that unit played really well against a good offense.
“I thought our defensive staff and defensive players played their tails off. We felt good about it coming in,” Brown said. “I thought we had a really good plan coming in. I thought we had a plan to keep them off the field. I thought that our staff on defense did a nice job limiting explosive plays. I thought we got some pressure up front.”
Offensively, Brown said the unit is going to continue to improve. Brown’s continuing to work in both quarterbacks, and liked what he saw when they were able to rotate Jarret Doege and Garrett Greene at the position.
“I thought offensively too, we battled. I think when we go back and look at it there’s going to be three or four opportunities where we had to go win the game. And you never know when those plays are going to be and we didn’t get it done,” Brown said.
On the quarterbacks, Brown said they had a plan and felt the plan worked for the most part.
“We had a plan about when we were going to use [the rotating quarterbacks],” Brown said. “We knew down in the red zone areas where we wanted to play [Greene].”
On the first drive, the Mountaineers played both Doege and Greene and went the length of the field, capped off by a Greene rushing touchdown.
“I think [moving forward] it’s going to be like [the first drive]. I think that for where we’re at and what we need to do it’s going to be a mixture of both.”
One of the plays that hurt West Virginia was a bad snap from sophomore Zach Frazier. Frazier the play before committed a snap infraction, and then snapped the ball when Doege was not expecting it, resulting in a 21-yard loss.
“We don’t have a better kid or person in our program than Zach Frazier,” Brown said. “I’ll take him everyday regardless if we’re playing Oklahoma or wherever we’re going. We got some hurt kids in the locker room and nobody’s more hurt than him. And you hurt because you invest, and there’s nobody that has a more personal investment than Zach Frazier. I’m not sure what happened. We haven’t had a bad snap up until that point.”
Brown said this loss hurts him personally because of how close his team came to pulling the upset. Brown said he expects his team to use this opportunity to get ready for the rest of the season, and to get better and be able to win in close games.
“I hurt in the pit of my stomach for our players. I hurt because we had a plan, we came in here, we fought against a team that year in year out, they are top in the recruiting rankings. Year in year out, they’re in the top-five or top-ten in the country,” Brown said. “We had the opportunity to win and we just didn’t. And that’s hard. And we just didn’t get it done. There’s going to be a ton of games that come down to the end and we have to figure out how to win them.”
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography