If you look back at Neal Brown’s track record at Troy, he very rarely ever won because of offense. What the Trojans fielded during Brown’s time in Alabama was a solid rushing game, and of course a very good defense. After just three games into his second season in Morgantown, it appears as if that philosophy has followed Brown to WVU.
Over the course of the eight seasons prior to Brown’s arrival, Mountaineer Nation became accustomed to offensive fireworks. If the Old Gold and Blue failed to put up at least 35 points, their chances of winning the game were slim. That was Dana Holgorsen’s style of football.
Play fast, with tempo, and outscore your opponent. It is because of this people are having trouble adjusting to the Neal Brown era. It is no longer about fireworks, but rather doing the dirty work. The Mountaineers will do what they need to do on offense, but they now rely on the defense more than they have in previous years.
This is no longer your typical Big 12 Mountaineers. The brand is changing right before our eyes, and it is because of the philosophy Neal Brown brings with him. Run the ball, play good defense, and make it a living hell on your opponent.
The days of shootouts are behind us in Morgantown. Neal Brown’s physical and defensive approach to the game will be better for the Mountaineers in the long run, and Saturday’s win over Baylor proves so.
West Virginia had every chance to lose that game, but the defense wouldn’t allow it. Time and time again the defense bailed out the offense, and it worked. This is a total and complete culture change from the Holgorsen days.
Under Dana Holgorsen, that was a game the Mountaineers would have lost. Even the slightest bit of struggle on offense would pose to be a game-killer for the Mountaineers. Now, they just have to survive and overcome. It very much resembles the Mountaineers of the Big East days – when they were most successful.
Maybe it wasn’t that great quarterback recruit or offensive firepower the Mountaineers needed. Maybe it was a head coach dedicated to improving the defense. Neal Brown will win, and win big in Morgantown. It just won’t be what we are used to in the Big 12.
Defense, defense, defense. That is the name of the game now for the Mountaineers, and it is about time we get used to it.