(Photo by WVU Athletics)
If a recent report from ESPN stands true, Neal Brown will be returning to WVU’s sidelines in 2023. The new athletic director will be giving Brown one season to prove his worth before making the decision to go in a different direction.
One of Brown’s biggest faults in Morgantown has been his unwillingness to make changes. However, now that his job will literally be on the line, he will have to make the hard decisions.
Here are FIVE things that Neal Brown MUST do in order to be successful in 2023:
- Hit the Transfer Portal Hard
The Mountaineers are lacking at several key positions, especially on defense. The youth and inexperience of the secondary cost West Virginia dearly in 2022. Brown must reach out to players in the portal, and bring in some experience to help his team out. The Mountaineers need veterans, and they need them now.
2. Part Ways with Assistant Coaches
Neal Brown is big on loyalty, and that is absolutely crippling him. Coaches like ShaDon Brown and Matt Moore have absolutely no business being coaches at the Power Five level. Graham Harrell and Jordan Lesley can stay, but he must upgrade those he has in charge of the positions.
3. Garrett Greene or Nicco Marchiol Must Start
We have seen all we needed to see of J.T. Daniels. He was good at times, but he just isn’t what the Mountaineers need in order to be successful. West Virginia needs a quarterback that has some speed to them – someone who can get out of the pocket when things get tough. Garrett Greene or Nicco Marchiol will give WVU the best chance to win in 2023. Don’t sleep on Will Crowder, either.
4. Forget Analytics/Be Less Conservative
Analytics can be helpful in coaching, but basing every decision off of them will ultimately bite you. Take the Pitt game for example. If Neal Brown goes for it on 4th & 1, the Mountaineers get the first down and win the game. Just like that, the entire season is different. You can’t win big games unless you take big chances. Quit being conservative.
5. Open Up the Damn Playbook
I can’t tell you how many times this season I would be in the stands calling the next play.
“Here comes a bubble screen!”
”Shocker! Zone read with a quarterback who can’t run!”
Brown needs to trust his players more. He is doing the team no favors letting things be so conservative. Let the leash loose. Unleash hell on the opponent. Throw things at them they won’t see coming.
It is not set in stone that Brown will be back in 2023. But with ESPN reporting it…I find it hard to doubt. This program is on the brink of absolute collapse.
I would give Brown the first three games to get things right.
9/2: at Penn State
If WVU comes out of this stretch 1-2, and still making dumb mistakes, I would pull the plug on Brown immediately. Give an interim coach like Graham Harrell prove whether or not he’d be worthy of the job. If not; then move on entirely.
It will be a very interesting next ten months in Morgantown.