Brown Promises Brighter Days Are Ahead For WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Saturday was a dark day for Mountaineer football; no denying that.
West Virginia (3-6) dropped its fifth straight game, marking just the third time in the last 41 years that WVU has suffered through such an ignominious streak, joining 1986 and 2012.
First-year head coach Neal Brown’s Mountaineer squad won three of its first four games to begin the season, but went 0-4 against a killer schedule in October, and then started November with a 38-17 blowout loss at the hands Texas Tech.
After Saturday’s defeat at Mountaineer Field, Brown didn’t mince any words.
“A frustrating day all the way around,” said WVU’s coach. “I don’t have any great words of wisdom or anything. You all watched that. I think if you watched it, that pretty much sums it up. We got off to an extremely poor start defensively. They scored on their opening five drives of the game.”
The Red Raiders led 28-3 early in the second quarter and kept piling it on for the rest of the half, taking a 35-10 lead into the lockerroom at the midway point. Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey threw for 354 yards in the game, 271 of those in the first half alone.
“We didn’t get any pressure on the quarterback all day,” Brown said of a WVU defense that recorded eight sacks just the game before at Baylor but had none against TTU. “(Duffey) just stood back there. They were also able to run the ball efficiently on us. Their run totals were just okay (127 yards), but they ran the ball efficiently.
“Offensively, here’s the deal,” he added. “We did some good things offensively, but we do things to beat ourselves over and over again. Drops. How many did we have? Seven? Seven drops. The turnovers – some of the turnovers happened because we have missed assignments. And then we had missed opportunities in the red zone. To me, the game came down to turnovers and missed opportunities in the red zone. We had three trips to the red zone where we didn’t get points. I think we went for it on all fourth downs. We lose by 21, and we leave 21 points out there.”
West Virginia admittedly is at a low point.
It is 1-5 in Big 12 action with its lone win over Kansas (3-6/1-5). The Mountaineers now face Kansas State (6-3/3-3), Oklahoma State (6-3/3-3) and TCU (4-5/2-4) in their final three regular season games, and WVU will almost certainly be a significant underdog in each contest. Potentially the 2019 Mountaineers could be just the second in school history to lose nine or more games in a single season, joining the 1978 edition (2-9).
But amidst the current gloom, Brown promises that brighter moments lay ahead for his Mountaineers.
“This is really for our fans,” he said at the conclusion of his postgame press conference Saturday. “I appreciate them being here. They were here at 9:30 in the morning for our Mantrip when (the temperature) was in the upper 20s or low 30s. They were supportive. They were here through the bad first half, through the second half and a high percentage of them stayed (for the entire game). I appreciate that, and that absolutely does not go unnoticed.
“We’re not playing very well as a football team right now, and we’ve got a ton of work to do in this program,” Brown admitted. “This is probably going to be one of our worst days. But I’ll tell you right now, we will build a successful program here. It doesn’t look like it right now, but because of (the fans) and for them, we will be successful here; we’ll absolutely be successful here.
“There are some growth pains right now. That is what it is,” Brown continued. “I promise you nobody is more frustrated by anything that is going on on the football field than me; I promise you that. But we have a high percentage of guys who are going to be back, and not just for one year but for three years. And they will significantly get better, and we’ll do a better job coaching them. And there will be a product on the field that matches the fans we have.”