Neal Brown’s Biggest Problem at WVU

(Photo by WVU Athletics) 

The Neal Brown era has been nothing short of unspectacular at West Virginia University. Sitting with a 22-25 record over four seasons, it will take quite the turnaround for the former Troy head coach to win back the trust of Mountaineer Nation. With a schedule that ranks among the most difficult in the nation in 2023, his chances of righting the ship next season are slim to none.

Questionable decision making, stubbornness, lack of game management competence, and vanilla schemes have all been common complaints regarding Brown’s time with the Mountaineers. If you were to go back and watch any game, including wins, over the last four seasons, chances are one of those four traits will be seen in every contest. It simply is Neal Brown football – it’s not changing anytime soon.

However, while his own management of the team has been controversial, that is not his biggest challenge in finding success in Morgantown. Though it may be difficult for the average fan to grasp, Brown isn’t the only voice in that locker room. A head coach can only say and try so much. This is why there are assistant coaches put into place on every staff in every level of football.

And that is where Brown’s biggest challenge has been – his staff simply isn’t good enough.

Sure you can point out both Chad Scott and Jordan Lesley, those two have been major standouts under Neal Brown. However, it is difficult to find another coach with a credible merit on the rest of his staff.

No, none of Brown’s assistants are “bad” coaches – that’s not the point I’m trying to get across. What I am trying to say, however, is that it is hard to find assistants in the building that belong at the Power Five level.

As a matter of fact, a good majority of his staff didn’t even have Power Five experience before arriving at West Virginia. For some schools, this works like a charm. For the Mountaineers, though, it has really hindered their performance.

You can certainly attribute WVU’s lack of success in recent years to a limited talent pool, but the coaches on this staff aren’t getting the best out of their players, either. A great coach will bring out the best in their players. Since West Virginia has not been getting the best out of their players, it makes it easy to circle back around and put the blame on the staff. Which, if we are being honest, is the right thing to do.

These players are college KIDS just trying to make their way in this world while the coaches are PROFESSIONALS. It is their job to put the best product on the field possible. If that is not happening then it certainly opens up the floor for some criticism.

The Neal Brown project is quickly fizzling out in Morgantown, and if these assistants can’t prove that they can take the next step, then they will all likely be looking for work as soon as 2024. As with most things in life, a coach can only be as good as the cast around him. Brown’s simply hasn’t been good enough, and it is hard to envision anything changing in 2023.

I hope that I am wrong, but Neal Brown’s current staff at WVU is shaping up to be the worst in recent memory for the Mountaineers.