Spring has officially sprung as the West Virginia Mountaineers coaches spoke to the media on Thursday about the team. Brown started the day by giving an update on the schedule and letting fans know that the the annual Blue n Gold spring game is back on.
“We’ll go next week, through Thursday, then we have spring break. When we come back we’ll start spring practice on the 22nd, and we’ll end with our annual spring game on April 23rd”. He just left out the “so buy your tickets now” line.
Brown noted that due to a COVID outbreak after the Super Bowl in 2020, the team missed portions of the offseason workout and this year would be the first full offseason the team has had since 2019. That part becomes important because based on all indications 2022 is a make-or-break year for Brown, following a sub-par 2021 that saw the team fail to take a step forward in year three under his tutelage.
“Right after the bowl game we had a press conference and just a poor performance in all three phases but especially on offense and special teams. Just didn’t play the way we needed to play. I was telling a group of donors that night it was really a crisis. Anytime you play that bad its really a crisis. And I really believe you never waste a good crisis”
Crisis could be a good word for the bowl game and more so for the offense that failed to produce much of anything and hindered the team on its worst days. In order to fix that crisis, the Mountaineers used the offseason to shuffle the chairs and fill them with new bodies, the most important maybe being new offensive coordinator Graham Harrel, who is tasked with fixing this crisis.
The next fix was to bring in a new wide receivers coach in Tony Washington, who helped Coastal Carolina in his time there. Brown would go on to note how the coaches have new and different responsibilities and the special teams would see a mix-up.
If you are wondering where the team stands in terms of scholarship players, the head coach has your back as he updated the media on the scholarship numbers.
“Right now, we got 62 guys on scholarship,” said Brown. “That’s what’s in this building right now. That’s in this building right now. The hope is we add one maybe two in the next week or so. We’ve got 12 that are signed and seven open spots”
The NCAA granted a one-time 7-additional scholarship buffer for the 2021-2022 recruiting cycle. Normally a team gets 25 scholarships to add to the team. The NCAA added an additional 7 to that number to increase it to 32 for this past cycle. Brown is alluding to that the Mountaineers currently have 62 players on scholarship today. They have 12 more signees who will join the team in May as their high school careers end. That would bring the number up to 74. Then the Mountaineers have the ability to add an additional 7 more players to the team which could bring the numbers up to 81.
Brown noted that even though the maximum the Mountaineers could have this year would be 81, there would be attrition. After spring practices is a common time for players to assess their position and standing with the team and if it doesn’t look like they will crack the starting lineup, begin to look for a new place to play. “Not all attrition is bad attrition”, said Brown.