Neal Brown Recaps Day One Of WVU’s Spring Football Practice
MORGANTOWN, W.VA.–“Day one – the good thing about day one is there will be day two, and it will be better,” said Neal Brown Tuesday evening after completing his first spring football practice session as West Virginia’s head coach.
The Mountaineers put in a couple of hours of work on the practice field, working in shorts, shirts and helmets on a mild afternoon with temperatures in the mid-40s. This is day one of what will be 15 practice sessions this spring, culminating with the Saturday, April 13 Gold-Blue Game. The first few days of spring drills are not in full pads. The NCAA allows 12 practices to involve contact, eight of those can feature full tackling, and three can be devoted to 11-on-11 scrimmages, with the first three days consisting of an acclimatization period that bans full contact.
For WVU, Tuesday was the beginning.
“Like I told them at the end of practice, we have a starting point,” said Brown a few moments after walking off the practice field. “There were some times today where it wasn’t pretty, which is to be expected. They haven’t played competitive football going back to the bowl game. There were periods that were ugly and periods that were good. I thought there were some of the guys who redshirted last year who had some moments today.”
Not everything was perfect on the first day, but for the most part Brown seemed pleased.
“The weather was great, and it was good to get back out on the field with the ball,” said the native of Danville, Ky., who spent the past four years as the head coach at Troy. “The first practice with these guys, there was a lot of enthusiasm. The good thing about this group is that 98, 99 percent of these guys are trying to do the right thing, and they’ve bought in. There are very few that aren’t. This bunch likes to practice, which is a credit to them.”
Practice with effort is a big point of emphasis with Brown. He and his staff also are working to install their offensive and defensive concepts, which especially on the defensive side are much different than what the previous WVU staff under Dana Holgorsen had taught.
“We have a starting point, and now it’s about getting better,” explained Brown. “We’ll watch the film and make corrections on Thursday. Right now we’re starting a three-day installation on offense, and we’re adding stuff each day on defense. There will be another practice on Thursday and then on Saturday, we’ll have our annual, well our first one here but what will be our annual Family Day, where we invite the parents and guardians and immediate family. We’ll go in the stadium for that.”
On the offensive side, Brown explained that he will have his base system installed in three days. After that, it will be re-teaching it over and over with added pieces brought on board as well.
“We’ll split in thirds,” he noted. “That’s our base runs, base screens, base protections, play-action concepts, quick game, deep. We’ll install those in three days. We’ll try to get our motions in as well. Then we’ll come back and try to add our tags in off of that, whether it is run tags or pass tags. We’ll have three installs, and then in practice four we’ll come back to our day one install, practice five we’ll come back to day two and so on. That means over the course of 15 practice sessions, we’ll have five days with each install.”
For the most part, WVU will practice every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday over the next four weeks with a couple additional days also thrown in. Weather can always change the schedule too, but the plan is to have at least one off day between practices to review film and make corrections..
West Virginia will be back on the field Thursday, with media allowed to attend.