Is Neal Brown Really an Effective Play-Caller?

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — I have a lot of hope and optimism for the upcoming football season, and I want nothing more than the West Virginia Mountaineers to be wildly successful this year.

Neal Brown is absolutely an outstanding culture builder and there is a lot of reason to believe in the future of the West Virginia football program.

But it’s hard to understand why Brown has decided to take over the duties of calling plays for the 2023-2024 season. Recently, Brown made the following comment about who would call play for the Mountaineers this season: “Really, in a pivotal year, you fall back to your strengths.”

However, upon looking at his history of calling plays for the Mountaineers, it’s evident that he has been far more detrimental than effective. Brown has handled the responsibility of calling plays for 3 seasons, during the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons. During that time, West Virginia has really struggled offensively.

West Virginia’s offensive rankings from 2019-2021 (out of 125 FCS teams)

2019 – 119th

2020 – 50th

2021 – 87th

Brown has done a lot of good for the football program, but calling plays has certainly not been a strength. In fact, it was the very reason that Brown went out and hired Graham Harrell as the offensive coordinator to take over the responsibilities of calling plays last season. At the time of Harrell’s hiring, Brown said, “What I want to do is be a resource. This is where I’m at on it. The college football landscape has changed. There are so many more hats that you have to wear (as head football coach). You can’t be an elite offensive coordinator and an elite head coach at the same time, so I want to be a better head coach and to do that I’ve got to step away from the offense.”

What’s changed since last offseason that makes Neal Brown believe he can be an elite offensive coordinator and an elite head coach at the same time now?