WVU’s Brown Describes Offensive Style As ‘Get It Done’
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Slap a label on it, categorize it, and file it away.
That’s the procedure for many items in the shallow, ten-second hot take world of today. Trouble is, such actions allow no room for analysis, for evolution, for growth.
Thus, we turn our attention today to the offensive system of WVU head football coach Neal Brown, which has been tagged and slotted in the Air Raid category, in deference to his early use of the wide-open attack learned at the feet of the head of the tree, Hal Mumme.
Just like West Virginia’s previous coach, though, that tag no longer applies as an accurate descriptor of Brown’s tactics when his team has the ball.
“We are a ‘get it done’ offense,” Brown said on the WVU-produced Mountaineer Insider podcast. “We are going to be spread, and going to be a no-huddle team. But we are going to do that in a physical nature. If you look at it, we have had a thousand yard rusher three out of the last four years, and we’ve had either a first-team or second-team (all-league) running back four years in a row. We have had a lot of success running the football.”
Without question. In 2015, Brandon Burks rushed for 1,005 yards (5.0 per carry), and was followed the next season by Jordan Chunn (1,288/4.6). Chun missed the mark in 2017 with 774 yards (5.0), but B.J. Smith pushed the Trojans back over the mark in 2018 with 1,186 yards (5.4).
Still, it has been tough to shake that Air Raid tag, although it’s not a concern for Brown. He credits his association with a number of the coaches near the head of the tree for instilling concepts of the offense that he still employs today.
“The Air Raid background goes back to when I played for Hal Mumme at the University of Kentucky. Mike Leach was my receivers coach,” Brown said, listing the two foremost proponents of the system. “I was fortunate to be around some great coaches: Mumme, Dykes, Chris Hatcher, Sonny Dykes, Guy Morriss, Tony Franklin. All those guys were right there.”
Over his career he, like many coaches, have added their own twists and made modifications, some major, to the Air Raid system. Inclusion of more runs, as well as more formations and motion, have all been on the menu. Still, the roots endure.
“A lot of the pass concepts are the same ones that I ran in 1998 and ’99 and 200 playing for Coach Mumme,” he explained. “How we get to them, formationally, motion-wise, shifting, using different personnel groups, that’s all different.”
Thus, the characterization of his offense comes down to more of a philosophy, a strength of adapation, than of pigeonholing it in one category. That’s also reflected in his overall approach to winning games.
“We have four principles in our plan to win. We are going to play great defense. We want to win on special teams. We want to win the turnover margin, and we want to be great in red zone scoring,” he said, ticking off the goals he deems vital in reaching in each game. “That means scoring touchdowns on our red zone chances — not kicking field goals — and holding them to field goals. If you do that over the course of time, win the turnover battle, you are going to win a lot of games.”
So, if you want to tag Brown’s offensive style and system now, it’s not “Air Raid”. Instead, it’s a three-word descriptor: ‘Get It Done’.
“Whatever it takes to get it done, that’s what we will do as an offense.”