West Virginia head coach Neal Brown spoke to the media following his team’s bye week and ahead of this Saturday’s matchup against TCU. Brown spoke about the bye week as well as previewing TCU and how he hopes his team can improve in the second half of their season.
Brown and his staff were very busy recruiting during the bye week, as well as focusing on his current team getting rest, but still practicing during the week.
“We had a productive bye week,” Brown said. He said his staff was out recruiting on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then saying they practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Brown said he is telling his players this season has two halves and they are now in the second half of the season.
“Second half of the season, that’s how we’re talking about it with our players, obviously first half didn’t go how we wanted to and we got six games left.”
This Saturday at 7:30 p.m., West Virginia and TCU will kickoff in Fort Worth, Texas. The Horned Frogs are coming off a 52-31 loss at Oklahoma, and Brown knows TCU is talented on both offense and defense and West Virginia will have to be ready.
“Offensively, they’ve done a great job mixing it up. You can tell they’ve made it a point to improve running the football and they have. They ran it extremely well versus everybody they played this year. I think, for them it starts with Duggan the quarterback — the kids a winner.”
As for the defense, Brown thinks their best quality is being able to stop what you are best at and even though they are giving up yards, they are still a good unit.
“Defensively, they make it tough. Year in and year out and make it tough [and] they take away what you do best.” Brown then added they have been hurt depth wise due to their depth and despite the injuries, he still has a high level of respect for that unit, saying, “that’s not a group we take slightly at all.”
TCU has depth at the running back position, with Zach Evans and Kendre Miller having more than 950 combined rushing yards, as well as a combined 11 rushing touchdowns on the season.
“I think those two backs are special,” Brown said on Evans and Miller.
Even though TCU excels at running the ball, Brown recognized his defensive line has been one of his team’s best units and hopefully will be able to help them.
“That’s got to be our first priority versus these guys,” on TCU running the ball. “I don’t think that they’ve hidden the fact that they want to run the football, that’s their first and foremost goal.”
Bye Week Improvement
Brown acknowledged his team has not been able to produce the amount of turnovers they have wanted to this season and worked with his team on changing a few things defensively.
“A couple things that we tried to emphasize during the bye week is, we got to get our hands on more balls… and the other thing we just got to be more aggressive in the secondary.”
Brown and his staff looked at what they want to get better at schematically and they are not going to make a drastic change from anything in the first half of the season.
“The things that you got to correct are fundamental mistakes,” Brown said.
“If it’s a schematic issue that, maybe you can’t be in this coverage, I think you got to eliminate it,” Brown said. “We try to cut back on the things that okay, what are we asking our guys, even though it was good for us, maybe a year ago or in the past, you know what are the things that we’re doing that just don’t fit what our personnel is.”
Brown and his team will face-off against TCU at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography