When you look back at West Virginia’s 2020 football season, “close calls” is the phrase that could define last fall in Morgantown. Games against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas all came down to the final couple of minutes. They were all also on the road. And West Virginia lost all three.
As head coach Neal Brown enters Year 3 as the head coach of the program, he knows that to get to the next level as a team, those are the games you have to win. Brown said at Big 12 media days on Wednesday, “Defensively, if you look at the scores of those games, we were in it. Third downs and red zones are the most important pieces for us. You’ve got to score touchdowns instead of kicking field goals and convert on third downs.”
The Mountaineers were in the middle of the pack of in offensive efficiency last season, but their 26.5 points per game ranked eight in the Big 12, ahead of only Kansas and Baylor.
One of the most important players needed to improve the offense is obviously quarterback Jarret Doege, who Brown raved about regarding his spring practice, saying, “He improved in pocket awareness and pocket movement and his accuracy on the deep ball. And that’s something as an offense, we’ve got to be more expulsive. We’ve had people open and we’ve dropped passes. The best offenses in this league aren’t grinding out drives.”
But despite that optimism, Brown and the Mountaineers are picked to finish in the middle of the pack for the upcoming season. However, if things break just right for West Virginia, they just might be able to be the “surprise team” in the Big 12 Conference this fall. And that’s exactly what Neal Brown is hoping for.
“You can’t control where you’re at in the preseason. You either prove them right or prove them wrong. And our goal is to prove them wrong. Our theme for this year is to be better,” Brown added.
Brown is 11-11 during his time as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, while going 7-10 in conference play. He signed an extension this offseason and is steadily recruiting one of the best classes in recent memory for WVU, as the class is now ranked inside the Top 25 of the 247Sports rankings for the Class of 2022.