Morgantown, West Virginia – I hope more than anything that I’m dead wrong about Neal Brown.
I hope that West Virginia dominates Pitt and that a new era for the team starts tonight.
But honestly, nothing Neal Brown has done at West Virginia gives me any confidence that he will have the Mountaineers ready to beat Pitt in the Backyard Brawl tonight.
Brown, who is 17-18 since taking over at West Virginia, has proven to be too conservative, too bland and too passive during his three seasons with the Mountaineers. Brown has simply played to not lose rather than win in his first 35 games with the team.
And that’s just not going to be good enough against a really good Pitt team tonight. Brown has to play to win, not to not lose.
The addition of offensive coordinator Graham Harrell will certainly help with that. Harrell runs an explosive, high-powered offense, which is the exact opposite of Brown’s Vanilla Raid offense that he’s run in his first 3 seasons at West Virginia.
The concern here is whether Brown will be able to fully trust Harrell with his offense and allow him to be in full control of the offensive side of the ball, or will he weigh in on really important decisions?
Brown has had trouble delegating responsibilities during his tenure and that is precisely why it took him three full seasons of mediocre offensive play before he hired a real offensive coordinator.
Again, I hope that I’m wrong about Brown. I hope he’s ready to be a real leader of his team and that he will trust his very capable play-caller. I hope that he will trust his younger players like uber-talented wide receiver Kaden Prather to make big plays.
Brown is one of the smoothest coach-speak talkers in the business. He says all of the right things in press conferences, but the product on the field just hasn’t produced yet.
I hope that all changes tonight and I hope more than anything that I’m wrong about Neal Brown.