The Mountaineers’ 42-6 loss to Iowa State on Saturday wasn’t easy for anyone. Nothing went right for the team, and it left many questioning just how far this program has come since last season. Though Neal Brown has been preaching “Trust the Climb” for nearly two years, everything seemed to take a nosedive all at once. Despite the negatives overtaking at the moment, the positives must be taken into account.
Sure, the 36-point loss will certainly set the team back somewhat, but it will not dictate the future or trajectory of this team. Neal Brown has promised to build the Mountaineers into a team that the state can be proud of. Being that he seems like a man of his word, I believe him. The former Troy head man has been busy on the recruiting trail since his arrival in Morgantown, and the results are beginning to show.
According to 247Sports, the Mountaineers have the third-best 2021 recruiting class in the Big 12. That puts them behind only Oklahoma and Texas respectively. Brown was also able to land four-star offensive lineman Wyatt Milum, who the site has as WVU’s sixth-highest rated recruit in the history of the program. Once you add four-star prospects Kaeden Prather and Jaylen Anderson, and fill out the rest of the remaining class with talented three-stars, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the best classes West Virginia has had in a while.
When assessing how far this program has come, you must also take into account the improvement on the field. Other than the debacle against the Cyclones, the Mountaineers have yielded what is the best defense in the Big 12 all season. Offensively, the Mountaineers have also taken a major step, even though it seemed nothing like that on Saturday. Though it has been inconsistent, the team has had spurts of solid play throughout the season.
Nobody expected this team to be great in year two of a new era, but the steady build has been there. Through recruiting, improvement, and solid coaching, WVU will have a breakthrough season at some point in the near future. This team is nowhere near its ceiling, and everything surrounding the program is indicating the trajectory is going in the right direction.
Losing to a team that is simply better than you is part of the growing pains of developing a solid program. It is sour right now, but the “Climb” was never supposed to be easy. In time, games like this will be nothing but a memory, and Neal Brown will have himself a winner in Morgantown.
Ignore the noise, the Climb is in progress, and the sight will be beautiful once we reach the peak.