West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown held a situational work day of practice inside Milan Puskar Stadium on Tuesday morning. Afterward, he met with the media to discuss where his team is at with a little over two weeks remaining until their first game.
“Probably our best day overall defensively we’ve had in camp which is a positive, I’m glad to see that,” Brown said.
A group Brown has been impressed by has been the special team’s so far throughout camp.
“Special teams work — we did a competition there. Punt versus punt return [and] we’ll have some good video to teach and really kind of build our depth chart off that. Kind of carry that over from the Spring.”
“And I’ll tell you somebody that I haven’t talked about who’s had a really solid camp is Casey Legg, he’s done really well so proud to kind of recognize him because he’s done a nice job.”
Brown announced that running back Tony Mathis has a minor injury and will miss minimal time.
“Tony Mathis was out, minor injury, I’ll update you after today and then Goose Crowder went out there, he’s got a stomach virus.”
Brown was asked a variety of questions by the media following practice which touched on a number of topics:
What have you learned these first few weeks of camp, what do you still not know?
“We’re going to stay in camp mode, I like these. The players are probably ready for them to be done just because they’re all day, it’s a glimpse of what they say they want and they want to be full-time football players and during camp we’ve had 12 or 13 days of it.”
Football put out a video of a walk on getting a scholarship yesterday (Malachi Ruffin) so just the nicety of a coach to do that, have you added any other walk-on’s the last few months?
“That’s one of the really fun things… and Malachi he won’t be the only walk-on that we put on scholarship here in the next couple of weeks, we’re waiting for a couple jobs to be earned, but we have a really good walk-on system here.”
“So many of the guys that have came here and earned scholarships and been really good players and contributed to our program are guys that are walk-on’s that are from West Virginia, so Malachi is a great kid first of all.”
On how Leddie Brown has expanded his skillset:
“He has, and I don’t think it’s been overnight. It’s been over two plus years that he’s really grown into an established receiving threat, he had 30 something catches a year ago, I hope we can increase that, I’d love to see him in that 45-60, I think he’s capable of it and spring ball we use him a lot split out because we weren’t going to get him tackled and that helped him, he grew.”
Scottie was in here yesterday talking about the developmental program, in what ways did he grow during his redshirt year and how do you guys go about setting goals for those kinds of transfers?
“The developmental program is something on that Wednesday the 25th is we’re going to make some decisions. Who’s in the two-deep, who’s ready to play special teams, who are the guys we want to start off as newcomers playing and who are the guys that just aren’t ready… those guys in the developmental program, they go into an off-season mindset as far as in the weight room and for four days during the week, they don’t go to position meetings, that time is used in the weight room.”
It seems like you’re going to be able to throw the ball pretty good…
“Yeah, I think so, we’re going to run our offense through him (Leddie Brown) and I think he’s the one guy that’s really proven that he can go out and win games, now my expectation is that we’re going to be much improved in the passing game.”
“I do think our quarterback and our receivers are much improved, but our offense is going to run through Leddie.”
What would you want people to say about your offensive line?
“You want to be physical up front, that’s the mentality we’ve got to have, that’s how we’ve been intentional about practicing that way in the spring and in the fall, it’s made our d-line better and I think our d-line is talented, it’s been great competition, Akheem Mesidor, Zach Frazier, Dante Stills versus Brandon Yates and Doug Nester… I think that both sides of the football up front are playing more physical than they have in the past.”
What about Dante Stills?
“He’s been active, we’ve moved him around a bunch and I’m really just trying to force him out of his comfort zone… I’m pleased with where he’s at, I think he’s made real growth and he’s embracing that challenge.”
On the pass rush:
“I think Lanell Carr’s our best natural pass rusher, Taj Alston has really had a solid camp, we’ve moved Dante and Akheem, they’ve played all three positions. They both are really good pass rushers and then everyone else is we’re just trying to develop.”
Photo by Dale Sparks, WVU