You Either Trust the Climb, or You’re Wrong

(Photo by Ben Queen - USA Today)

Let’s be honest, Mountaineer fans are not always the most rational of people. After only 21 games into the Neal Brown era, many of the “loyal” fans of the Old Gold and Blue are ready to jump ship on the Climb. These individuals do not feel a 10-11 record is good enough through two seasons, despite the depleted roster that Brown was handed when he arrived in Morgantown.

If you look past all of the good that is surrounding the program at the moment and focus solely on the record, I guess you could make this argument. However, any fan who has the least bit of football knowledge knows that this was not an overnight fix. It would take time and dedication on the recruiting trail before Brown brings the Mountaineers to where he wants them to be.

Once you sit back and analyze recruiting rankings, and evaluate the progress that WVU is making on the field, you will realize this is exactly what is happening at WVU. Brown just inked one of the most talented recruiting classes in recent memory, including Wyatt Milum, one of the highest rated recruits in the programs history.

Time has also began to fix WVU on the field. The most prominent improvement has been through the running game. After averaging only 73 yards per game on the ground in 2019, they nearly doubled that number in 2020 at 145 per game. Defensively, WVU also fielded one of the best units in the country, a significant jump from where they were during the previous season.

Nothing from Brown so far into his tenure is alarming, nor is it worse than expected. What I see is a coach who is slowly but surely building a program, and it is only a matter of time before his squad breaks through. There are only two ways to describe the naysayers of Brown, and both are reasonably accurate.

The first term I would use is ignorant. These “macho” fans who are so quick to voice their opinions on social media simply don’t know what they’re talking about. They want to sound like the smartest ones in the room, but instead sound like they have their heads planted firmly up their asses.

The second, and most accurate, term I would use is wrong. The opinions of the “Embrace the Slide” crew is just wrong. Any rational fan knows the program is going on the right direction, but for some reason this knowledge doesn’t register with these individuals. They don’t see all of the positive trends around the Mountaineer program, and would rather spend their time bitching about wins and losses instead of progress.

The best way to treat these people who try to bring down the program is to just ignore them. What they say about Brown and the Climb doesn’t matter, and they’ll likely be the ones praising him when the breakthrough finally arrives.

So you can go about this one of two ways. You can be a true fan and Trust the Climb, or you can be a nuisance and “Embrace the Slide.” The choice is yours, but as for me, I’m riding with what this program is doing, and trust that it will reach heights that it hasn’t seen in over a decade.