(Photo by Robert Ovies – VOM)
I have to admit, this is not where I expected WVU Football to be three seasons into the Neal Brown era. After a 17-18 record since 2019, fans are beginning to become restless, and many are even questioning whether or not this thing will ever get off of the ground for the former Troy head coach. While that is certainly a rational reaction following a 6-7 season, the 2021 season doesn’t necessarily indicate the true trajectory of the program at this moment.
Let’s start with obviously the most important aspect of building a football program – recruiting. Since Brown has arrived in Morgantown, the Mountaineers have been recruiting at what seems like an all-time high. With the 2022 class being one of the highest rated in program history, and the 2023 class looking to reach those same heights, it’s hard to argue against the blueprint of Neal Brown right now in that field.
Once you have these great players, you must have the coaching staff to accommodate them. Though the defensive staff for the Mountaineers has been terrific over the last three years, the offense has been the unit that has left much to be desired. I’m being completely honest when I say that I believe that much of the fault should be placed on the coaching staff for those shortcomings.
Insert offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Graham Harrell and now we’re cooking. With his track record at North Texas and USC, as well as his successful collegiate career at Texas Tech, everything Harrell has touched during his football career has turned to gold. Neal Brown saw this, and realized the struggles of his offensive unit during his tenure, so the hiring was an absolute no-brainer for him.
Now that Harrell, a successful and brilliant offensive mind, is here to improve the offense in Morgantown, all of the pieces are seemingly in place for the Mountaineer Football program to be successful moving forward. They have a quarterback in Nicco Marchiol, a solid defensive unit led by Jordan Lesley, and now an explosive up-tempo offense that should be among the best in the Big 12 Conference.
I am certainly now under the impression that the Climb has officially begun in Morgantown. The average fan will not see it, but the trajectory for the Mountaineer Football program is trending upwards, and we may just see the results sooner than expected.