WVSPORTS.COM West Virginia head coach Neal Brown press conference summary

Keenan Cummings

Fact Based and Wonderful
Sep 16, 2007
--West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said that it was a good win over Baylor and they did some good things in all three phases. They did a nice job on special teams with their coverage units and their gunners did a tremendous job covering those. Kickoff wise under some difficult circumstances with some mishit kicks, they did a good job. Lance Dixon and Hershey McLaurin did a nice job on those coverage units and the kickoff return on the last drive really set up the last drive. The field goal block by Dante Stills was big. Defensively, they have to cover better. Gave up a bunch of yards passing and have to do a better job getting pressure on the quarterback. Five possessions they had an impact on the game defensively with one being the last drive of the half and the final four possessions of the game. Offensively, West Virginia was balanced and really good on third down. Made contested catches and they did a good job protecting.

--Casey Legg and Tony Mathis were both recognized by the Big 12. It says a lot that Tony Mathis has been patient and consistent and came through on a big stage. In house awards the offensive lineman of the week was Zach Frazier, who graded out at 97-percent. Special teams player of the week was Dante Stills. That block changed the momentum. Defensively had two fumble recoveries and returned one for a touchdown was Jasir Cox, who played his best game here. Offensive player of the week was Kaden Prather who made several contested catches and has played well since game one. The juice award goes to Hammond Russell and the blue collar award goes to Jordan Jefferson, who controlled the inner part of the line defensively and took up two guys, Wyatt Milum and Brian Polendey blocked really well. Scout team players of the week was center Jackson Oxley, defensive Gene Townsend and special teams was Donald Brandel.

--Texas Tech is 3-3 but has played an extremely tough schedule. Joey McGuire is somebody he has known since he was at Cedar Hill. He has put together a really good staff. They play really fast and have had over 100 plays three times this year. The play three quarterbacks and have really good skill. They run a lot of plays and have been balanced. They will spread you out and have a bunch of new stuff every single week which makes them hard to prepare for each week. They send a lot of pressure with multiple fronts. It starts with the defensive line and they have played well against West Virginia in the past. They are really long in the secondary and will play a lot of man coverage and challenge you. Special teams wise they do a really good job of affecting punts. Their punter is really good and their kicker is good. Two of their better offensive skill positions are their returners. It will be a great environment on Saturday afternoon.

--Wesley McCormick is questionable and they will see how he goes. They will practice Charles Woods today, they are hopeful. If he plays it will be in a reduced role. Andrew Wilson-Lamp has to sit out the first half of the game. They expect Rashad Ajayi to be back. CJ Donaldson will practice today and if everything checks out he will be ready to go. Mike O'Laughlin will be out for the year and have surgery on a knee. Hurt for him. That's a tough deal it's the third time for him. Jordan White will be back and he has practiced and will see action this week. Sean Martin will practice in a limited basis and is hopeful but questionable there. Mumu Bin-Wahad will practice and the hope is he'll be available.

--It's the third time in four years that West Virginia has played Texas Tech coming off a bye week.

--There is probably some carry over with Texas Tech and what they do at Baylor defensively. They are built different and how they get their pressure are different but there are some things they see on film that are similar.

--This is the first time they've gone against this Texas Tech offense. What stood out this summer was how different they are from week to week and not a bunch of carry over in his eyes as they watch them. What you try to do is prepare for the tempo with how fast they are playing and try to get your guys in position to keep the ball in front and get them down.

--The offensive line can get better. West Virginia has to be able to run the ball against teams that are good against the run. Pitt they were able to run the ball against them, Baylor they were able to do that. Coach Brent Pry has been good against the run at Penn State. The only game West Virginia hasn't performed as well as they wanted to was against Texas and they challenged them. For West Virginia to play offense at a high level, they have to lean on the offensive line and know what they're getting out of them each week.

--Kansas had a nice plan and checked some runs away from Dante Stills and read him in the run game. Teams have slid their protection to Stills since then and have gotten inside and outside help. West Virginia has moved him around and he is playing all four positions to try to counter that. There has been a lot of growth in Stills. Statistically Stills is still showing up but he is making a lot more plays than he has in the past and when he is getting doubled they have to get more production from the others.

--Texas Tech played really well in the second half against Texas. When you watch the game it's something they pay attention to but there is so many outside determining factors that go into it. They played well against Texas, but West Virginia didn't.

--Donaldson hasn't put on shoulder pads or contact or practiced with the team since the Texas game. There will be rust there and how he is used on Saturday will depend on what he does on Tuesday and Wednesday. Brown didn't think it was the right thing to do to rush him back even though he could have progressed through the concussion protocol quicker.

--The thing about tempo is how you practice. West Virginia is going to do some things differently and they've had some issues in the past against it. You can't continue to do the same things and expect different results. West Virginia plans to do things differently within the structure of the defense where there isn't as much movement from side to side.

--The wind is going to affect the kicking game, but it shouldn't affect anything on offense if you throw spirals. It will be windy in west Texas but it won't have a greater affect on the game outside punting and kicking.

--It seems like it's different positions each year, but they are in this new era of college football where the roster is changing a lot. A lot of times the projected twos try to leave and go to greener pastures, they think. When you experience some injuries it's a bigger deal than it was a few years ago. Guys have experience so it won't be the first time they've played in the secondary. By tomorrow they have to figure out who is going to play in the secondary and develop a plan. West Virginia is going to give up some passing yards but they have to stay in front and do a better job in their pursuit angles and make some plays on the football.

--First of all, all three of their quarterbacks are good players. Tyler Shough has been good at Oregon but dealt with injuries. Donovan Smith played well last year and he has continued that. The West Texas kid that came in and played against Oklahoma State he is the highest rated QB recruit in the history out there and he played well. Brown thinks that their quarterback room is really talented, too. They have a lot of faith in them, too. If you feel good you plug them in and you have faith and run what you normally do. Texas Tech worked to get all three of them reps in fall camp and they have performed well. All three quarterbacks can run. The offense hasn't changed with each one in the game.

--You have to be really careful and you can fall into a trap where your strengths don't match up with theirs but they have success against an opponent. Texas Tech has given up some sacks and TFLs but they have had some explosive plays. You can't read too much into it, but traditionally West Virginia has been pretty good with TFLs and sacks. West Virginia will move their front and do some simulated pressures but you can't sell out because they are so explosive.

--Last year there was some patience involved with the offensive line. Brown knew they were getting better but weren't where they needed to be but after another off-season they had a chance. They knew they had to get another blocker at tight end because they didn't have one in the bowl game. West Virginia had some issues at wideout and were just trying to get to the finish line. At running back, the coaches felt they were fine there. West Virginia needed to be more consistent at quarterback. Injuries have been a factor on defense and they have to build depth at linebacker and they have to build the secondary, too. You are building teams rather than four or five year planning like it used to be.