WVU’s Neal Brown Discusses Two Current Priorities For Coaching Staff
West Virginia head football coach Neal Brown has been on the job a little more than a month, and completed a great deal during that time. From staff building to holding on to an existing recruiting class while adding a few of his own, the 38-year-old has done an excellent job during his brief time at the state’s flagship institution.
As he and his staff dive into the second session of winter drills and begin preparing for spring practice (which starts on March 19), there are still numerous tasks demanding his attention, but like any good CEO, he’s focusing on priority items.
“Right now [my day] is a little bit different because we are playing catch-up in recruiting on the class of 2020 and 2021,” he said on the MetroNews “Sportsline.” “We’re also getting to know our players. I was talking to our position coaches and I said, ‘For us the two most important things right now are one, building relationships with our current players, and two, recruiting.’ So all of our time and effort need to be around one of those two things the next two weeks.”
Part of that recruiting recovery will be hosting current high school juniors during February and March. That will be a feeling out process for his staff too, as they work out the best ways to promote the program.
“That will be our first opportunity to get these guys on campus and show them what our vision is, and teach them about our history,” Brown said. “Those are first impressions, and you don’t get a second chance.”
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Brown and his staff are still limited in what the can do with the team in terms of on-field work, but that will ramp up a bit as spring practice approaches. Still, those winter workouts aren’t ignored.
“We have a workout, and after that we come in as a staff and grade that workout. We call it who exceeded the standard, who was below the standard,” Brown said of the current schedule. “Who had the best ‘juice’ in the workout?”
Those grading sessions contribute to a new bit of notice that’s sent out each week from the program:
— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) February 12, 2019
“The last two weeks before spring break, we’ll get in and use two hours a week to teach a little bit of football,” he added.
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Brown plans to reveal the full recruiting areas of responsibility for his team at a press conference on Monday, but did describe a bit of the framework involved. He recently completed his staff of 10 on-field assistants.
“Each coach has two different [recruiting] areas,” he explained. “They will have a primary area, which is in West Virginia and the surrounding states, and they will have a secondary area, which could be in the southeast, or a junior college, or New Jersey.”
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Player evaluations during the spring will have a huge impact on what plays and schemes West Virginia will be using this year, but again, there’s a framework in place. Brown has talked to his quarterbacks about the plays they are most comfortable with as a starting point for practice planning.
“Offensively, there won’t be much difference as far as the pass plays, mostly. Those will be very similar. The run game will be quite a bit different. We approach this the same anytime we come in and follow up somebody that has been successful – and they had a very good offense here last year.
“We need to build our offense around our players. you build your offense as far as calling plays around your quarterback and offensive line. From the QBs perspective, what are you most comfortable with?”