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Neal Brown Press Conference, Week 6: Home-field advantage

The toughest part of the schedule is here and WVU Football head coach Neal Brown addressed the media ahead of the game against Iowa State.

NCAA Football: James Madison at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia football has hit the toughest part of its schedule and head coach Neal Brown addressed the media about the challenge of this Saturday’s game against Iowa State. Last week, against Texas, the Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) showed their resilience, continuing to fight despite costly turnovers on offense and miscues on special teams. Brown noted that to win against the Cyclones (3-2. 1-1 Big 12).


  • “I want to start by thanking our fans for showing up on Saturday and creating a tremendous home atmosphere.”
  • ”It was tough loss to a very good Texas team… a lot of missed opportunities.”
  • “We didn’t execute well enough or play clean enough to beat those types of teams.”

Recapping Texas

Special teams:

  • “I thought it was a push.”
  • Negatives: 1/3 on field goals. Punt return game. “Did not execute our onside kicks at the end of the game… I would have liked to seen us make that interesting.”
  • Positives: “I think Josh is punting the ball well… zero punt return yards.”
  • Kickoff coverage was very good.


  • Negatives:
  • “Third downs in the first half… Our inability to get off the field really cost us.”
  • “Gotta be better at sudden changes. Hopefully in the future, we won’t have to come off of four interceptions…”
  • Positive: The third quarter was the best we played defensively all year


  • Negatives:
  • Four interceptions.
  • “We played poorly in the third quarter when he had chances to tie or take the lead.”
  • Positives:
  • Pass protection was really good.
  • “Our receivers ran their routes with much more discipline than I’ve seen this year.”
  • Had nine explosive plays.
  • “It was a hard-fought game.”
  • “Disappointed because I thought it was set up for us to win”
  • “There’s plenty of blame to go around, and I take my fair share as well.”

Other notes:

  • “JoVanni Stewart has made a decision not to be an active participant, and as a result is no longer part of the team this fall.”
  • Sean Ryan had surgery this morning on an upper-body injury... I have no timetable for him.”
  • Sam James will be questionable… will hopefully be able to give you an update later in the week.”
  • “This is a game we’ve got to learn from and grow from. They were disappointed, but their energy was really good because of all the positive things from the game.”
  • I’m excited about this group and excited about us moving forward.

Looking at Iowa State

  • Matt Campbell has done a great job building that program. “Really, I’m impressed.”
  • “They’re consistent, just really consistent.”
  • “Since 2017, There’s no game they’ve lose by more than 14 points. They haven’t lost a game in October going back to 2017.”

Special Teams:

  • They’re sound.
  • “Really good success on their kick return units.”
  • Tarique Milton has the ability to make you miss.
  • They are aggressive on the punt return team.


  • Defense is really creative and it’s spread throughout college football.
  • Haven’t given up a TD in the first quarter.
  • Defensive line is long… Both their nose tackles (Jamahl Johnson and Ray Lima) are really active
  • “Linebackers allow them to do a bunch of different things.”
  • Multiple coverage looks, “and that’s where they are unique.”
  • A lot of different looks.
  • “I think (Greg Eisworth) is a big-time player. “


  • “One of the top offenses in the country.”
  • ”They’ve only had two three-and-outs the whole year, they’re averaging 8.4 yards per play.”
  • “It all starts with Purdy. I don’t really get into comparisons… the deal is, he’s special. I think he’s one of the top QBs in the country, he won’t be under the radar much longer.”
  • TEs Koehler and Allen, receiver Jones are tall.

Other notes:

  • “This is a huge game for us. I know our fans are excited about last week. This game is just as important, maybe more important.
  • “This is a big recruiting weekend for us.”
  • “It’s fall break… we need everyone who can possibly get here to get here. We’re on our way to establishing this as one of the biggest home field advantages in college football.”


Losing Depth:

  • “I think we wish we were deeper than we are.”
  • “We’re having to make adjustments to how we practice... Not going as long, we can’t be as physical as practice. A little less good-on-good work.”
  • “Secondary and offensive line are the two biggest concerns.”

Impact of Stewart leaving on Tykee Smith:

  • “Tykee Smith put himself in a position to play more before that.”
  • “Since he came on campus, he’s had an infectious attitude. He loves football… he enjoys the grind of it.”
  • “You can see those guys starting to improve.”
  • Two things happen to true freshmen, either they get into the season in start inclining because they feel more confident and comfortable or they decline because they can’t handle it.
  • Tykee covered Duvernay well in one-on-one last week.

Umbrella coverage of ISU:

  • “They’ve changed the league by what they’re doing.”
  • “A lot of four-I techniques.”
  • “A lot of four-man boxes, but when the ball goes into the belly of the RB, it’s a seven-man box.”
  • “They play three high safeties… it’s really multiple and they do a really good job of confusing the QB.”
  • “It’s something that we spent a lot of time on in the summer.”

Appreciating ISU’s innovative defense:

  • “Credit to them… There are still explosive offenses in our league.”
  • “As the Big 12, we’re recognized as the best offensive league in the country. It’s really changed the league and I’m appreciative of that.”
  • “We’re a copycat society… Texas used some of it last week.”
  • “It’s kinda spread, I see Clemson doing it, and I appreciate the fact they were the first to do it.”

Does their defensive scheme have a shelf life?

  • “They still get off blocks really well and tackle really well.”
  • Things do have shelf lives.
  • “I would assume there are air-raid principles in the top offenses in the country, even though the air raid has been around for 20 years.”

TJ’s Play on Saturday:

  • “I’ve put him in a leadership role cause he’s older, he’s a guy you can coach and correct and he doesn’t take it personal… I’ve been pleased how he responded.”
  • “The last three games, we’ve blocked on the perimeter well and he set the standard for that.”
  • “Another guy is Bryce Wheaton… He did a great job… Caught two big plays, one for a touchdown, in the game.”

Difference as a head coach at a Power Five school:

  • “The recruiting is the biggest difference.”
  • “If I hadn’t been a coordinator in a Power Five league, it would be different, but there are no surprises.”
  • “Talking to ABC as opposed to ESPNU is a difference.”
  • “The recruiting piece is different because it’s two-plus years.”
  • “I see Tony Caridi a lot… More money, more demands.”

Why Tevin didn’t play as much?

  • “I thought last week was a game we needed to play bigger… We wanted to get bigger bodies.”
  • “He’s been dealing with a nagging injury, but nothing serious.”

Running style of Purdy

  • “They use him in multiple different ways… I don’t know what his 40 time is, but he’s run away from several people.”
  • “As I watched him over the summer, my takeaway was that he’s a really good player as a freshman. But watching him Sunday and Monday, the offense was built around (David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler) and all of a sudden they’re gone and he’s better.”

“I’m not one who sits and carry on about different players, but they’ve got two guys, Purdy and (Eisworth), and I appreciate the way they play the game.”