Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia football program has all of the pieces in place to be incredibly successful for many, many years ahead – an outstanding, young head coach, fantastic assistants, as well as improved facilities and recruiting.
However, one piece that is glaringly obvious is the lack of a real offensive coordinator with actual experience at the position. Although co-offensive coordinators Chad Scott and Gerard Parker are excellent parts of the team, they are not experienced play-callers. And while Head Coach Neal Brown has plenty of experience as an offensive coordinator, his duties as the leader of the program are far-reaching, and he should not have to focus his energy and time on calling offensive plays.
While the Mountaineers’ offense is certainly improved from last year, averaging 440.7 yards per game this season (26th out of 75 eligible teams), the offense is too often stagnant and lacks identity.
Who are the Mountaineers on offense? Are they a run team, or a passing team, or both? How exactly would you describe West Virginia’s offense under Neal Brown? During his time as the Offensive Coordinator at Texas Tech and Kentucky, Brown ran what he termed the “NASCAR SPREAD”, which focused on high octane production and speed.
Since arriving in Morgantown, Brown has been very, very conservative offensively, particularly on key third down plays. His questionable run calls on third and long have become his signature play call and has led to many missed opportunities. If I had to label Brown’s offense at West Virginia, I’d call it “MONOTONE CHIC.”
With that said, West Virginia needs an identity. I understand West Virginians’ reservations with ever allowing Rich Rodriguez to come back home to Morgantown. He left for another opportunity at Michigan under questionable circumstances, but let me remind you what he did when he was here at West Virginia University. Not only was he an offensive pioneer, he took the Mountaineers to unprecedented heights.
Imagine Rich Rod’s spread with the team’s current offensive talent! Garrett Greene with Leddie Brown/Alec Sinkfield in the spread offense would be deadly. This is all unlikely, of course, but just imagine it.
Rich Rodriguez is a dream and won’t happen, but there are plenty of talented, experienced offensive coordinators out there that could focus on calling plays and bring a real identity to the Mountaineers. Virtually every football program in the country has an offensive coordinator that calls plays and does not rely on its head coach for a reason…it’s what works best!
The West Virginia football program is very close but lacks a few pieces towards long-term success, and the first piece that needs filled is a real offensive coordinator to lead the Mountaineers’ offense.