MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Week 8 did not go as planned for the Mountaineers. The WVU football team now must regroup and respond, as things don’t get any easier with No. 7 TCU coming to town.
Head coach Neal Brown met with the media Tuesday to preview Saturday’s matchup with the Horned Frogs.
Here are the biggest takeaways from his time at the microphone.
“Refuse to accept that’s who we are”
Neal Brown said simply the Mountaineers are back to work.
While he has been critical of the performance he saw from his players on Saturday, he doesn’t believe the performance was emblematic of where the program is as a whole.
“I refuse to accept that’s who we are,” said Brown. “That’s not who we were against Baylor here, and I refuse to accept that’s who we are as a football team. Failure is temporary unless you accept it, and I refuse to accept it. And no one that’s coaching here is going to allow that to be who we are.”
The head coach has stated multiple times in recent weeks that the “demise” of the program was overstated after its 0-2 start.
And even though there were few positive takeaways from its most recent outing, the head coach doesn’t believe it was a true showing of the team’s ability.
“It’s a noon kickoff (versus TCU), and we will be better,” said Brown.
The Mountaineer fourth-year head coach had a multitude of status updates to give regarding players on Tuesday.
Brown announced that four players, including running back Tony Mathis Jr. and cornerback Rashad Ajayi, will not suit up against the Horned Frogs.
Fellow running back Justin Johnson Jr. is questionable, and the program is hopeful that defensive back Wesley McCormick can play.
Offensive lineman Wyatt Milum will be available.
Looking to bounce back on offense
West Virginia committed four turnovers, and was outgained by more than 300 yards in the road loss to Texas Tech. The Mountaineers also struggled to establish a running game, partially due to the injuries noted above.
Through the air, Brown believed that two interceptions – one just before halftime, and the other just after halftime – changed the course of the game.
“That’s where the game really went south,” said Brown, who didn’t put all the onus of those interceptions on JT Daniels, adding that the intended receivers needed to do a better job of making a play on the ball.
Daniels had his worst game as a Mountaineer in Lubbock. He, too, will be looking to bounce back.
“He is even-keeled, I don’t think it’ll really hamper him getting prepared for this week,” Brown.
WVU not listening to the noise
Much in the same way that Brown won’t accept Saturday’s performance as a true showing of his team, he also isn’t listening to noise coming from outside the program.
How does he do that? Keeping perspective.
“I try to put it in a real perspective to them,” said Brown. “This is important because we’re investing a ton of time and resources into it. So it is important. But it’s also, if you’re looking at things that are critical in your life that’s something that’s not going bad, this is easily fixable compared to some other things.”
Brown added that he attempts to take the final outcome on the scoreboard out of the equation, and focus on what he sees on tape from an individual, and team-wide performance.
“That doesn’t have anything to do with what people say on social media, that doesn’t have anything to do if you all write or print something on TV or radio or whatever, it has to do with an individual choice that you go to play better,” Brown said. “We got to coach better. So, that’s the approach with them. They hear it, I don’t try to ignore it. But it doesn’t help.”