Morgantown, West Virginia – Neal Brown said it best: “I thought our guys played their tails off, I really do…and really, today was on me.”
In what was the most disappointing of West Virginia’s three losses this season, the Mountaineers had every opportunity in the world to go into Austin, Texas and beat the Texas Longhorns.
However, Neal Brown’s baffling play calling once again made it impossible for West Virginia to overcome horrendous officiating and an experienced Texas team.
In the Big 12 Conference, you don’t leave it up to the officials on the road, especially at Texas, and this is precisely what Neal Brown’s brutal play calls did today.
Brown continues to be too cautious, too conservative, too predictable, particularly on 3rd down, to win big games on the road. I personally don’t mind Brown’s decision to go for it instead of kicking field goals in the 4th quarter. Rather, the issue lies with Brown’s lack of creativity on key 3rd downs.
In Brown’s post game, how could our weak, cowardly media members not question Brown about his play calls? Not one question was asked about Brown’s thought process on the third downs where he decided to run draw plays rather than attempting to actually get a first down.
No one in the West Virginia media wants to hurt the feelings of Neal Brown or Bob Huggins, and this is precisely why all of their post game press conferences sound exactly the same, particularly after a loss.
Like Huggins who blames losses on “players not making shots, not getting to the ball, etc.”, Brown has a list of reasons for not winning in his back pocket that have no real ties to the specific game. “We didn’t make plays. We had a few bad breaks. We didn’t coach well enough.” But he never addresses precisely why the team lost.
They lost because he doesn’t value keeping the ball and he’s far too comfortable punting the ball away. You simply cannot continue to accept giving the ball back to the other team in the Big 12.
The difference in this game – other than the horrendous officiating – was that Texas threw the ball down field on 3rd and long, while the Mountaineers continued to run draw plays and screens that had no chance of getting the first down.
Neal Brown is right. This game is on him. But is anything going to change because of it? Will he not continue to make such head-scratching calls on 3rd downs? This has been an ongoing problem all season. If the West Virginia media continues to give Neal Brown a pass, nothing will change and nothing will improve.
The media has power. Unfortunately, West Virginia’s media is so weak, so frail, so simple-minded that no real changes ever happen.