Neal Brown wasn’t scheduled to speak to the media until Saturday afternoon, so his presence at Thursday’s assistant coach press conferences was a surprise to those in attendance.

That is because Brown wanted to address a situation that surprised him that he learned about it on Tuesday, the transfer of defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor, which he announced during the impromptu session. In fact, Brown said he was “very surprised” by that development, and in some ways, Mesidor’s departure sits apart from WVU’s other losses to the portal.

“Some of our cases, it was the best interest of both parties. In some of our cases, I preferred for them to stay, but really understood their reasoning….Most of the time, you really sensed them coming,” Brown said. “Not this one.”

Brown praised Mesidor, describing him as a great kid, and detailed his excelling on the field and in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t stung when he learned that the rising junior would leave the program.

“I love Akheem Mesidor, I love the kid, and so I’m not angry about it, I’m not upset. The best emotion that I would use — and these are probably words that football coaches aren’t supposed to use — would be hurt, or maybe just sad,” Brown said. I would say personally, I hurt because of the investment, and more so because of the relationship.”

The WVU head coach also expressed his sympathies to his defensive coaches and remaining players on the defensive line, calling that group one of the “closest position room that we’ve had.”

The quickness of the announcement added to the sting, as he was in practice and meetings right up until Tuesday.

“In many ways, I hurt for Akheem too because I don’t think he’s making a good long term decision,” Brown added. “In today’s college football world, these men are surrounded by so much noise, and pulling them so many different directions that it’s hard to decipher right and wrong some times. There are things that are going on in our profession that are not good, and they shouldn’t be out there, but they are.”

The negativity isn’t shaking the coach’s confidence in the sport or in his program. He said that he has had a lot of time to think during the last couple of nights as he struggled to sleep, and instead, he has come out more resolute, confident and committed in his program’s direction.

He affirmed his beliefs of investing in the student-athletes and creating a culture of accountability.

“Here’s the thing, there’s going to be some days that are tough, like the last day and a half where you lose some guys that you’re really, really invested in, but I believe if you do it that way, there’s going to be a lot more success stories than ones that are going away,” Brown said.

Brown did not field questions during the unscheduled media session, but said he will answer some on Saturday after WVU’s spring football practice.