(Cover Photo Courtesy of West Virginia Athletics)
Morgantown, West Virginia – When Neal Brown hired Graham Harrell as his new offensive coordinator, he said precisely what I’ve been saying for months.
“You can’t be an elite offensive coordinator and an elite head coach at the same time.”
Despite poor results since arriving at West Virginia, Neal Brown insisted on calling plays for the Mountaineers. While he technically had an offensive coordinator in wide receivers coach Gerad Parker, Parker had zero experience calling plays previously and it showed.
West Virginia was the 87th ranked offense statistically in the nation this past season, averaging 371.2 yards per game. In addition, the Mountaineers were ranked 103rd in college football in rushing yards, averaging just 123.4 yards.
While it’s easy to blame the offensive line for the problems over the past three seasons, Brown is responsible for the team’s inadequacies on offense, and he’s finally taken the blame for it.
It’s not easy to admit mistakes, particularly when the stakes are so high, but to his credit, Brown was very open and honest in his most recent statement.
“When I looked at it, I said ‘we just haven’t been good enough, and I think we need to bring in an outside person that has new ideas,’ somebody that believes in the same ideas I believe in and my staff believes in, but somebody that has some energy,” Brown explained. “I wanted a proven play caller, and I wanted somebody from a personality standpoint who was a fit, not only for myself but the staff.”
Brown continued: “What I want to do is be a resource (for Graham Harrell). 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 a 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.”
Although Brown was a few years late in coming to this conclusion, his transparency was certainly refreshing. West Virginia’s defense has been good enough to win many of the games they have lost over the past three seasons and now, with a real offensive coordinator, the Mountaineers finally have all of the pieces to the puzzle to be successful.