By any Mountaineers’ fans standards it’s been a tough season for the football team. Following Saturday’s 38-17 loss to Texas Tech, which saw the Red Raiders score a touchdown on their first five drives, head coach Neal Brown took a moment in his postgame press conference to send the fans a very personal message.
Brown said, “This is really for our fans. I appreciate them being here… they were supportive. They were here through the bad first half, they were here through the second half and a lot of them stayed. And I appreciate that and it absolutely does not go unnoticed.”
There’s no doubt about WVU having some of the most loyal fans in the country. It’s part of the reason why, despite the location being what it is compared to the rest of the Big 12, I was more than willing to welcome the Mountaineers into the conference because of how passionate and loyal the fan base is. They’re not fair-weather fans in Morgantown.
Brown went on to say, “We’ve got a ton of work to do in this program… but I’ll tell you right now, we will build a successful program here. It doesn’t look like it right now, but because of them, and for them, we will be successful here. We will absolutely be successful here… nobody is more frustrated with everything going on on the football field than me. I can promise you that. But we have a high percentage of guys who are going to be back, and not only for one year but for three years.”
It was this kind of passionate plea, which has to endear you to Brown as he embarks on this rebuild at West Virginia. I’ve always felt that this was going to be a tough season, but that Brown would be able to rebuild it, if given the time. Dana Holgorsen left the program pretty barren and he knew when to get out of Dodge.
Imagine Dana as head coach of this team in 2019? If he wasn’t fired yet, he would’ve been the day after the season ended. The relationship between him and the program had run its course and he had not done a good enough job recruiting the depth needed to play in the Big 12 in a year-in, year-out basis.
Neal Brown can, and I believe will, do that. West Virginia University has continued to put money into facilities, is willing to do what it takes to allow its head coach to be a winner, and while there is not a ton of in-state talent, Neal Brown has ties to the southeast/SEC country that should begin paying dividends in future recruiting cycles.
Brown ended his pitch saying, “There will be a product on the field that will match the fans that we have.”
And for the record, stud defensive lineman Darius Stills agreed with Coach Brown’s notion, adding this on social media.
💯 Be Patience With Us In Year 1 With Coach Brown …Trust The Climb 👆🏾 https://t.co/3AL9RYjxUn— Darius C. Stills (@DariusStills56) November 9, 2019
As the Mountaineers struggle through a season that has, as expected, featured far more lows than highs, remember this speech from Coach Brown. Trust him to turn this ship around and the program could be healthier than its ever been since joining the Big 12 Conference.
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