Morgantown, West Virginia – To win big-time college football games, a coach has to be willing to stomp on the necks of their opponents, pushing harder and harder until their brains come squirting out of all of their orifices.
Metaphorically, of course.
Neal Brown lacks that. He plays to win games, but he does it in such a safe, calculated way, that if everything in the game doesn’t go as planned, there’s a high likelihood that West Virginia will ultimately lose.
In the first week of the season, West Virginia was up in the 3rd quarter before Brown went into safe mode. The same could be said for the games against Virginia Tech and Oklahoma.
This is precisely why West Virginia is averaging 3 points in the second half against Maryland, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. Brown wants to not lose so bad that he gets skittish and timid about doing anything that will actually win games.
There’s so little room for error in Neal Brown football. His aw-shucks innocence is charming, but it’s not exactly the personality needed to be a highly successful football coach.
The sport of football is a brutal, ugly sport and chances have to be taken. A safe, conservative approach is almost always trumped by coaches willing to take risks. College football games are won by teams playing high-octane, fast-paced offenses, not vanilla, boring offensive schemes that are more focused on not losing games.
Neal Brown is a fine man and an outstanding coach, but a willingness to take chances and go for the win instead of hanging onto leads with white-knuckled fists would make him even more successful. West Virginia should have won the game against Maryland, should have closed out Virginia Tech much sooner than they did, and absolutely should have beaten the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman.
Don’t overthink this ugly, brutal, unpredictable game, Coach Brown.