West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown and other members of the team met with the media on Tuesday afternoon following the Mountaineers big victory over Iowa State last weekend.
The team talked about the win and also looked forward to this weekend’s game against No. 11 Oklahoma State.
“What I thought was a great college football game, we were fortunate to come out ahead, but it was a physical game by two teams that competed really, really hard and we were fortunate enough to win,” Brown said. “I thought our guys made enough plays throughout the game, really proud of their resiliency.”
Brown also went in depth about the team awards from last week’s game which included returner Sam James leading the special team’s unit, linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo earning defensive player of the week and quarterback Jarret Doege snatching offensive player of the week.
“Our special team’s player of the week from last week against Iowa State was Sam James and I would encourage you to watch Sam James on punt return, unbelievable strain, fighting to do his job,” Brown said. “Defensive player of the week and he had nine tackles, three assists and a sack in Josh Chandler-Semedo the last two weeks has really played at a high level, he’s playing the best football of his career right now.”
One play on Saturday that shifted the game in the Mountaineers favor was a goal line fumble that was poked out by linebacker Exree Loe and gave West Virginia the ball for a touchback.
“It’s really inconclusive to be honest with you, the ball was out, it was a fumble, now when did it, I have no idea, you can’t even tell. There’s a couple really difficult calls in that game for us and against us on some of them that are really bang-bang, and so I couldn’t tell on the coaches copy, the ball was out that’s all I know,” Brown said.
It was officially announced on Tuesday that redshirt junior tight end Mike O’Laughlin and junior cornerback Nicktroy Fortune will be missing the remainder of the season, both due to lower body injuries.
“Mike O’Laughlin’s going to miss the remainder of the season so he’s out with a lower body injury and he won’t return, and Nicktroy Fortune will miss the rest of the regular season as well, so just some injury updates, both of those lower body injuries.” Brown said.
Previewing No. 11 Oklahoma State this week, the head coach described how successful the Cowboys have been able to be over the years and this year especially with one of the most physical running backs in the Big 12 in Jaylen Warren.
“No. 11 team in the country, they’ve earned that, they’ve only lost on the road playing at Iowa State which is one of the tougher places to play in college football,” Brown said. “Offensively, they want to run the football and I think it starts with (Jaylen) Warren, the offensive line is as improved from a year ago and Jaylen Warren runs as physical as anyone in our league.”
Multiple times throughout this season, Brown has credited the work of strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph and his staff on getting players bigger, stronger and more physical in order to compete with Big 12 products.
“He’s really well regarded in the strength and conditioning field, I think he’s got a perfect mix of science and toughness, kind of new school, old school, he’s got that Fairmont toughness, but he also understands the science piece,” Brown said. “I think he’s got a really good approach with kind of the old school strength and conditioning with the new school approach as far as performance is concerned.”
West Virginia will kick off against No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday from Milan Puskar Stadium at 3:30 p.m. ET.