Intensity, Relatability In Equal Measure For Neal Brown

Intensity, Relatability In Equal Measure For Neal Brown


Coaches at the Division I level tend to fit into one of several molds. There are the no-nonsense guys, the screamers, the homespun folksy types. Any can be successful, given the right set of circumstances and their overall skills.

In Neal Brown, West Virginia is getting a coach who has a little bit of everything in the mix. First and foremost, though, is the way in which he relates to the media.

Neal Brown after Troy’s 2017 New Orleans Bowl victory over North Texas

“With us, he has always been very relaxed,” said A. Stacy Long, who has covered Brown and the Troy University beat for the Montgomery Advertiser. “He’s very down to earth, and his family is that way, too. He has always been good with us.”

Long related a story to illustrate the point.

“When he was at Troy for his first stint as an offensive coordinator, his practices were always open. They still are. I was going down to video some general shots for a story. Neal is halfway between me and offense and with his back to me. The first play they run is a reverse. The quarterback saw me and yelled out, ‘Hey, Stacy is taping our reverses.’ All Neal does is kind of look over and motion me not to tape those. I was already deleting it when it happened, but that shows how he was with us.”

Most other coaches would have flipped out, or not let anyone on the field at all. (There’s no word yet on what Brown’s policies will be at WVU.) However, his calm reaction reflected the way in which he relates to the media and the public.

“He’s very personable, and always good with fans,” Long said. “There are a number of summer events and camps that he attends, and he makes good connections with everyone there.”

Long related another story that demonstrates Brown’s fun with the game.

“A couple of years ago (Michigan head coach) Jim Harbaugh was down here for one of his satellite camps, and that’s the one where he took his shirt off. I saw Neal coming in to an event a couple of days later, when he had just arrived from one of his own camps, and asked him if he took his shirt off like Harbaugh did. Neal said, ‘Yes, but I look better than he does.'”

The 38-year-old Brown also acquiesced to several requests from the media, including one from Long to spend a day with him to gain insight into the day of a coach.

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“That day started at 5:30 a.m. and ended about 1:00 a.m.,” Long said. “Neal did a few things that day that aren’t included in every day for a head coach, like class checks, but he thought it was a great idea to have the story done.”

Brown’s family, like him, appears to be very down to earth. There’s no apparent entitlement, and the activities of the children are just as important as Brown’s job.

“On the weekend that Troy beat LSU, one of his daughters had a gymnastics meet. So, none of the family was at the game,” Long related. “Afterward, they went to Applebee’s to watch the game, and his wife (Brooke) asked them to turn on the game. ‘My husband is the coach,’ she said. So, they watched one of his biggest wins at Applebee’s.”

All of that contrasts with Brown’s much more fiery manner on the field. He gets “wired up,” there according to Long.

“He’s very hands-on,” Long said of his approach. “In practice, he’s with the quarterbacks one minute, with the wide receivers the next. He was still calling his own plays, so he was a little more involved in the offense, but he isn’t laid-back there.”

Even when that intensity crossed the line, Brown still managed to demonstrate his leadership ability, and his relationship with his players. After drawing a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in his team’s win over Nebraska this season, Brown imposed the same penalty on himself as he does to players who commit the same infraction:

In all, it appears as if WVU is getting a coach that knows how to relate, both to his players and to the public.

 

Home forums Intensity, Relatability In Equal Measure For Neal Brown

This topic contains 11 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  wvucinci .

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  • #78951

    Intensity, Relatability In Equal Measure For Neal Brown Coaches at the Division I level tend to fit into one of several molds. There are the no-nonsen
    [See the full post at: Intensity, Relatability In Equal Measure For Neal Brown]

    #79007

    I don’t think Brown will ever make me wish we still had Holgerson.I look forward with great anticipation next season.Will we rock the college football world in his first season?Probably not, but then again you never know.I know one thing for sure, I’m excited about WVU football again.

    #79012

    In listening to Tony’s interview last night with his counterpart at Troy all I heard was a fondness and pride that Neal is getting this opportunity.  The type of bittersweet fondness when the kids depart the nest and go on to bigger and better things.  I was all in on Neal from the start and that interview only reaffirmed the quality of individual that we have in Coach Brown.  It is definitely Troy’s loss.  I, for one, am now looking forward to what the 2019 season will bring.

    #79022

    We may not have a breakout season but I suspect it will be fun to watch at times  and intriguing at times.

    #79025

    The cupboard isn’t entirely bare and if Brown can get some healthy linebackers and decide on the right QB 2019 may be better than thought.

    #79037

    The cupboard isn’t entirely bare and if Brown can get some healthy linebackers and decide on the right QB 2019 may be better than thought.

    Not trying to dump cold water here. Call it my view of the situation. But WVU has major questions and/or problems at just about every position except RB and LB for next year. Even not counting Qualls and Ferns, the return of Benton and Chandler should help a good bit. No proven backups at DL. CB was average to bad this year. OL had three consistent performers, and one of those is gone. I can go on.

    What’s the win total of “better than thought”? Interested to hear the thoughts of you and others.

    #79038

    Agree with your analysis and better than we thought would be 7-5

    #79039

    I was fully anticipating a four win season next year, were Holgs still to be at the helm (a bit pessimistic, I know, but had prepared myself for that) . We all know that a coaching change brings challenges on many fronts. Knowing that, I’d be tickled to death going .500 and getting a cheap bowl–but being realistic, am expecting a sub-.500 year.

    #79059

    The cupboard isn’t entirely bare and if Brown can get some healthy linebackers and decide on the right QB 2019 may be better than thought.

    Not trying to dump cold water here. Call it my view of the situation. But WVU has major questions and/or problems at just about every position except RB and LB for next year. Even not counting Qualls and Ferns, the return of Benton and Chandler should help a good bit. No proven backups at DL. CB was average to bad this year. OL had three consistent performers, and one of those is gone. I can go on.

    What’s the win total of “better than thought”? Interested to hear the thoughts of you and others.

    Looking thru my rose colored glasses, I don’t think the water is as cold as you project.
    O…..
    WR’s with Simms, Simmons, Bush and the FR are pretty good. Maybe not as good as Sills, Jannings, but still very good.
    OL only losing Yodny and Hardy. Plenty of talent behind them with another year under their belt. Brown brothers, Wickline, McKivits, Sills Buccugrossi, Jones…. good bones to build on.
    RB’s are set with all 4 returning.
    QB is the only question and IMO Lowe will get a good shot at it.

    D….
    DL loses the most but we still have Stills, Stills, Donahue Pooler, Wolfley that all saw plenty of action last year. Hopefully we will add 4 total DL to this class.
    LB with the return of the walking wounded for the last few years it will be at least as good as last even with Long departing. The only other loss is Qualls. Shea has been quite a surprise as a fill in walk on. Cowen will be a big help.
    S & CB with being able to fill the LB slots with true LB’s will be able to man their positions without being poached by the LB coaches. IIRC we only lose Avery and Henry in the backfield. All others will have another full year under their belt.

    That being said, the only question mark will be QB. And I just don’t think you can tell anything by the Bowl Game. That game plan put together by Holgs was about the most pathetic plan that I’ve seen. Yes, we didn’t have Grier, Cajuste, Jennings, but we still could have put together a much better game plan to exploit our TE’s in the short pass and ground game. This debacle was all on a HC that had already checked out. Reminded me of the Pitt game when RR bolted the day after.

    #79081

    Will Wickline (the player) remain here?  If he should transfer out, that makes another big hole on the O-Line.  Then too, a lot depends upon whom coaches the O-Line.  Could steepen the learning curve for that room if there is a coaching change there – which probably should be a valid assumption.

    D-Line depth acquisition is an imperative.  Probably going to be working the waivers wire on this position.

    CB has concerned me all year from a consistency standpoint.

    If we stay with Gibby, then I suspect he’ll find some safeties – he usually does.

    RB is a strength and TE was too with Wesco (I’ll miss him, but I suspect he sneaks in somewhere on Sundays).  With that said, I wholeheartedly agree with Butler on the Camping World “game plan”.  I think I’d have tried to pound the ball more and take some pressure off of Allison, which would have probably meant using Lowe more but I damn sure wouldn’t have shied away from that option.

    QB is going to be a real can of worms, IMO.  I think this is another area we need to get on the waiver wire.

    #79089

    If nothing else the Brown hire puts we as fans in a far more anticipatory frame of mind than whatbwould have been under DH.

    I still say singing a grad transfer QB or JC signal caller is needed. The kid from Buffalo would be exciting.

    Hard to state the impact of losing Grier, Sills, Jennings and Cajuste (though I think he is vastly overrated based on physical measurements alone).

    I would include Wesco but we used him so little… he will be a solid pro souls he find the right fit.

    I think we will see a motivated and competitive team that loses a handful of close games and gets throttles a couple times. Already looking forward to spring ball and the Brown era.

    #79141

    Wickline may bolt if his father is not retained, which I assume will not be the case. on the other hand I think the elder Wickline would counsel his son to stay. he has already been to JC and WVU, has some experience, and can get his degree. I certainly don’t know but I think he stays.
    if we could get Crook, or similar quality (at least I liked him) then I’m not ready to write off the Oline.
    Defense is a big question mark but I’m holding out hope that the new defensive staff will improve our fundamentals. IMO our tackling, which I think has been inconsistent, at best, for years, was as bad as I have ever seen this last year. if we can just tackle better on defense we can’t be worse on defense next year. We can’t be.

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