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Neal Brown Press Conference - “I Have To Do a Better Job”

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 16 Big 12 Media Days Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Great program win against Baylor Bears. Lot of respect for that program and staff. Tough physical program. Not just team. Program. I thought we showed real toughness, physicality. Most in the two years I've been here.

Special teams - negatives - didn’t punt the ball well enough. Coverage was ok. Punt return team. Two opportunities to block we were close but didn’t use good technique. Had the play that's made it way around on ESPN. Have to give Sinkfield a chance to get started. We had two opportunities to have big plays on kickoff return. We were blocking really well on that unit We have to do a better job on kickoffs. Covering kicks with mentality I like. I think kickoff sets the tone. I think your field goal block tells the story of who you are. Our FG Block was special. Blocked a kick, had two others we had pressure on. almost blocked the game tying PAT.

Defense - Effort and physicality unit was special. Something we need to continue. no reason we cant play that like week in and out. Credit to coaches. good game plan our kids played good and physical. Only negative was ending drive. Couple miscues. Miscommunication on the touchdown.

Sudden change but we only gave up 7 points. the punt return is the only one we gave up a touchdown on. Special in the redzone. Rushing defense, holding them to 27 yards. Takeaways. Negative plays is what our defense is built on.

Offense - Negative plays. The two interceptions. The one the linebacker made a great play and you’re gonna have that. The other we fluttered the pass and they flipped the field on that. We lacked explosive plays and we have to be better than that. We made a lot of little mistakes that killed drives. They don’t always show up. We got behind the chains. We have to be better.

Positives, no turnovers in the 2nd half. We didn’t lose the game in the 2nd half. We ran the ball well. And the response in the two overtimes. being able to respond to some adversity with a young group.

Awards - Darius Stills received a couple national awards and he was Big 12 Co-Defensive POTW. Proud of him. Talked about after the game. Had his two best weeks of prep since Ive been here and the staff. Prep and practice habits were great.

Tony Fields, he’s been an excellent addition.

OLine OTW - Mike Brown graded out high but Chase Behrdnt is our OLPOTW.

STPOTW - we vote on a special teams captain. This kid was voted special teams captain. Had three tackles. Exree Loe is our ST POTW. Proud of him. Solid player on defense but excellent st player.

DPOTW - This guy had over 9 tackles, cuople TFL, played his best game here. Josh Chandler. Couple of others were in the running, Tykee Smith, etc.

OPTOW - For the third straight game, has shown what kind of player he is. Leddie Brown goes for close to 100 yards and adds to the passing game.

Blue Collar POTW - Someboyd who doesn’t show up in the stat sheet but makes a difference in our run game two weeks in a row. Couple critical catches, one on 4th and 1. Mike O’Laughlin. Ahkeem Mesidor was in the running.

Scout Team POTW - Devel Washington. Really improved

Big win, heading into a bye week. Different than our first bye. We hav eto get fresh and get our legs back. We’ll work Kansas Jayhawks near end of the week.

Thoughts on Chase

We were going into the game with a dif look and had to switch that about 11 on Friday. Chase didn’t practice any at center but he went out and played well. He played well against Oklahoma State Cowboys and Baylor. Playing better pad level. Doing a really good job with his pad level and communication. Has improved as much as anybody on the team. Captain for the game, chose by the staff. Thought Zack Frasier, started at left guard which he hasn’t practiced a ton, played there, but he got most of his practice reps at center. He made some mistakes but was really physical in the run game. couple things switching off twists, recognizing blitz that worked against him because he didn’t have the practice reps but I thought he did a really nice job. Brandon Yates played a really nice game, physical. Really excited about what he’s done. Mike Brown continues to play well. That’s three games in a row. He’s definitely getting better. Great movement in the run game. John Hughes and Briason Mays played and we were better than the week prior.

Follow up question later in press conference

Yeah he was working some guard and tackle. We’re not going to do that moving forward. He’s going to be an interior player only.

Darius Stills and the brothers dynamic.

Darius best attribute is his quickness. He does a really good job with his hands and has a really good feel of the movements we run. [He] knows when to hit it frontside and backside and he makes plays. When he’s in position to make plays, he makes those plays. That sounds simple but a lot of D-Lineman get back there and don’t make plays but he makes plays. Whether its a TFL or getting the quarterback down, he does a good job of doing that.

As far as the [brothers] dynamic, I think they’re good for one another and they’re bad for one another. There’s really good competition within them. They’re best friends, live together and do everything together. There’s no negativity but they do push each other. Darius has really stepped up from a work ethic standpoint the last couple of weeks and now you see Dante starting to do that same thing. I’m glad we have them on our team. Darius is capable of playing at a high level all the time and Dante is too but sometimes people forget that this is only the second year Dante has played an important role. If we’re talking about Dante as a redshirt sophomore, the way people perceive him is going to be a whole lot different than the fact he’s a junior. I think he’s continuing to improve. that’s the hardest Dante Stills has played in any game in his West Virginia career. If he’ll play with that energy and that effort, he’ll continue to make a bunch of plays and be productive.

What To Do About Prep To Win Games

Have to play with the same effort, physiciality and mentality to overcome adversity. That’s something I dont think we’ve done a good job of, our response. Our response wasn’t in a good way against Oklahoma State. Only way this is a turning point win is if we follow it up against Kansas, against Texas Tech Red Raider. We have to follow it up with that same phsyicalaity and mentality, then we can look back adn say this is the one we got ove rthe hump. I hope we identify ourselves now with that gritty mindset. I hope. If wedon’t continue to do this this week and next week adn moving on, then thats not going to be the case. That’s the hope, mental toughness.

Confirm Waiver

He has. Today will be the first day he’s been at practice in two weeks. He had a family member that was really ill. He went home to spend time with that family member. That was excused, we told him to go. So today will be his first day back.

Filling Out Recruiting Class and Waivers

We’ve received them all. Dobson received his waiver. Bryce Brand will be eligible starting the Texas Tech Red Raiders game. Scottie Young will sit out as a transfer. Lot of time spent on recruiting this week. Need to finish up the 2021 class. We borrowed a couple with a couple transfers so we don’t have a full 25. Five or 6 are our open spots for this class. A lot of personal visits this week.

Exree Loe

Playing better defensively. Exree’s best piece of his game is his speed. He runs really well. A decorated receiver in high school. He is one of the fastest guys in all. He’s hungry. Good job getting to the football, staying on his feet. Good athlete. He understands leverage, ball leverage. I think all of those things contribute to him being a really good special teams player.

Pass Protection - Good Last Year, Bad This Year.

The biggest difference between this year and last year is we had two fifth year guys playing tackle. Lot of experience on the edge. That’s where we’ve been hurt in pass protection. That’s the difference. We mis-[identified] a couple of things on Saturday in the Baylor game. Missed a corner blitz on third-and-four that should have worked out, its something we work on and practice a lot. Quarterback held on to [the ball] too long a couple of times. We missed a couple where they edge blitzed and we were in empty protection and we have to sit down and we let a guy run through the A-gaps which shouldn’t happen. Its a combination of things. The sack fumble on the second drive they got us on a defensive scheme. The ball should have been out. Ball should have been thrown to his first progression. We had that protected enough to do that. Third possession, we had the ball around mid-field, third-and-four, prolly gonna get a positive play and go for it on fourth down. We get cornered blitzed to his right, his blind side. We should have picked it up. That was just a missed assignment. We just practiced guys at different spots that we had to move them on Friday. We had a couple quarterback hits, not sacks but hits, where some twist game stuff [confused lineman]. That’s on [the staff]. When you deal with what we had to deal with on Friday, that’s gonna happen some, but I didn’t think we had a lot of protection issues. We had a lot of issues in the pass game. We didn’t throw it very good. Protection was an issue against Oklahoma State, not against Baylor.

Explosive Plays Can you Create them

Yes. But that’s not correct [only having one, Winston Wright]. We had a bunch against Eastern Kentucky. “Well I’m talking about 50-yard plus plays” - Well hell there aren’t a whole lot of people who have those. Seriously. We only have one fifty-yard. Where you’re correct is yes we have to throw the ball downfield better. Absolutely. We had a couple of opportunities against Oklahoma State and we hit on one of them. So we have to do a better job. I didn’t do a good enough job in this Baylor game. I didn’t a good enough job. I have to do a better job of getting them called. We likely had less than three opportunities against Baylor. That’s on me as the playcaller. In the second half, I didn’t want to put us in that position. Moving forward we’re gonna have to do to win games.

Tony Fields - Is he evolving

He plays on our kickoff team and field goal block team. We moved him around. He’s mike [middle linebacker] in our scheme. Mike lines up in a bunch of different positions. I don't know who asked the question, might have been you [Mike Cassazza] last week, we’re trying to do things with him Saturday that maybe aren’t his strength. WE found that out. He played extremely well. He’s better at depth. He’s a really good blitzer. We put him on the line of scrimmage on Saturday, I’m not sure we’ll do that as much moving forward. When he knows where to go and he’s confident, he’s special. I thought it was a great exhibition of linebacker play between him and Chandler and the Bernard kid for [Baylor].

True Freshmen

I think its to be determined. It’s tough. The downside for this class is they didn’t go through a normal process. Normally you come in June and you’ve got eight weeks where you get a feel, you spend a lot of time together as a freshman class. You create great chemistry. You learn about the culture of the pgoram. The rules. How the workouts work. You get the base of the offense, the defense, the special teams. You spend time with older guys. You learn from them. By the time fall camp rolls around you understand what the expectations are. This group never had that. They were in and out because of quarantine. Then fall camp is split groups. I feel for them because they haven’t gone through what a normal progression would be. Now we’re in season and its been a month, its really been that the routine has been established. And its hard. Are there guys who are showing up on Saturday and playing really hard? Yes. But I think its too early to tell on a lot of them because of the unfortunate circumstances.

Akheem Mesidor’s Game

Mesidor has played as much as any other freshman in our program. He’s explosive. He loves football. He loves to compete. Loves practice. Loves to learn. Played more outside on the edge. He feels more comfortable. I like the way he competes and prepares.

That’s a good room [DLine]. Obviously Dante and Darius have had a lot of success. That’s a room that really has good chemistry. He is pushed because of the success of Darius and Dante.

How to stay in mindset during OT

You practice those situations in fall camp. AS a coach you just stay calm. You can’t act different than 1st quarter or fourth quarter. You always have some things that you want to do in overtime that you saved, which we did. That’s kind of the mindset of it.

Alex Sinkfield

That’s a really good observation. He played well. When you go back and watch the film I always ask myself, “If I were to play this game tomorrow, what would I do”. One of those is get Sinkfield more touches. That’s one of the disappointing things is we’re not able to get punt returns started because I would like to see what he can do if we get him started. Their punter did a really nice job hanging the ball in the air. The one we made the mistake on, I don't think I’ve played anybody with that kind of hangtime quite that long. His contact balance, his ability to win one-on-ones. Those have been the biggest differences for him.

Dreshaun Miller

He made some big plays and he’ll continue to get better. He made some mistakes but he’ll continue to get better and not make those mistakes. That’s the thing that sticks out with Dreshaun is he played with a ton of energy. Lot of energy. Showed a lot of maturity as well.