Cover Photo: Ben Queen/USA Today
Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia was bad last season. At 5-7 overall and 3-6 in conference play, the Mountaineers were one of the worst teams in the Big 12 Conference in 2022.
In 2023, it’s hard to imagine that the team will be any better. In fact, based on the moves made so far this offseason, it’s very likely that West Virginia will be far worse next season.
The Mountaineers lost Graham Harrell, an accomplished, talented offensive coordinator, to Purdue. His replacement? Chad Scott. Scott, an outstanding running backs coach for the Mountaineers under Neal Brown, has no experience calling plays. While he has earned a promotion, one has to wonder if hiring an offensive coordinator with no play-calling experience right now is a wise move.
West Virginia has to win and they have to win now. An assistant coach learning on the job in such a critical year for the football program just doesn’t add up or make much sense. To be fair to Neal Brown, it’s unlikely that any proven coordinator would want to coach under “dead man walking” Brown.
Neal Brown is undoubtedly on the hot seat and the chances of him coaching in Morgantown into the 2024 seems slim at best. If/when Brown is fired, so will be his coaching staff, and so Brown promoted Scott, who is almost certainly the “offensive coordinator” in name only. Make no mistake about it, Neal Brown and his massive ego can’t allow anyone else to run his boring, unproductive, boring offense. Although Chad Scott was named the offensive coordinator today, Neal Brown will still call plays for the Mountaineers, and we already know how that will turn out.
The Mountaineers’ roster has downgraded as well. West Virginia has lost numerous quality, proven players to the transfer portal and graduation and have gained mostly players who have performed well at the Group of 5 level. Adding players from Kent State, Middle Tennessee State, Towson, etc., will never be adequate enough to improve a failing Power 5 team like the Mountaineers.
West Virginia also added a tight end from LSU (Kole Taylor – 5 catches, 55 yards last season), a wide receiver from NC State (25 receptions, 406 yards, 2 touchdowns in 2022) and a solid defensive lineman from Penn State (Fatorma Mulbah – no stats in 2022), but no one Neal Brown and his staff have added this offseason can come close to replacing players like Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Charles Woods, Kaden Prather, Jordan Jefferson, Mumu Bin-Wahad, JT Daniels, among many others.
West Virginia won’t improve under Neal Brown because Neal Brown doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. He continues to make the same mistakes over and over again, and he always has an excuse for why the Mountaineers aren’t performing well. It’s either COVID or NIL or the transfer portal or a combination of a bunch of things, but it’s never Neal Brown’s fault in his eyes.