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Cover Photo: Ben Queen, USA Today

Morgantown, West Virginia – Two days ago, a former players for the West Virginia Mountaineers messaged me to share his experience with the team and with head coach Neal Brown in particular.

Yesterday, another player – this time a former starter for the Mountaineers – validated what his former teammate said and added even more substance to what was previously said.

In regards to what current West Virginia offensive lineman Brandon Yates claiming that Neal Brown has the support of the entire team, this player had the following to say: “This is not true. If you are and were a major contributor you knew Neal (Brown) was the problem. It’s sad that the fanbase is still blind to the problem.”

I asked, “Why are players so afraid to come out and say it?”

He replied, “Because if they speak out, they will never see the field while Neal (Brown) is there.”

“But what about after they leave,” I asked. “Are you willing to talk publicly?”

The player responded by saying, “You can’t. Players have to protect their careers with their new program. Neal (Brown) will win any argument against former players because his fanbase is larger.”

The player closed by adding, “Neal (Brown) is very good at making fans feel like the program is heading in the right direction. No other team has this many starter leave year after year.”

To protect the anonymity of the player, I will not reveal his identity, but he was a talented starter on the West Virginia roster.

Here are the actual screenshots from the player with his name and picture edited out:

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Brad Smith, "The Voice of Morgantown", is the most trusted, accomplished name in West Virginia sports journalism. Smith is the foremost, preeminent authority on West Virginia athletics and a lifelong fan of the Mountaineers. Smith, a proud graduate of West Virginia University, resides in Morgantown most of the year, but has a home in Jacksonville, Florida, where he lives during the winter.