Spring football is officially one week away in the university city. This marks the first true offseason for Neal Brown’s program since 2019.

In 2020, the COVID-19 shutdown happened hours after WVU’s first spring practice. Brown revealed earlier this month his squad dealt with the same issues leading into the spring of 2021.

“We had 30 guys out for I think three weeks in February. We never shut down but what we did was went to those small workout groups again like we did the summer of ’20, and if you remember, we pushed spring back last year,” Brown said.

The goal of the team workouts in the winter session is to put as much pressure possible on the athletes and see how they can overcome it both mentally and physically. Going through that process also helps the team create chemistry.

The Mountaineers weren’t able to fully take advantage of that eight-week period last season, and Brown believes that led to a major setback in their performance.

“There’s a pattern you have to go through in your season. You start with winter, go spring and summer, get in fall camp and then go in your season mode,” Brown said. “We missed a significant piece of the winter and I think it showed up in some detail things and some mental toughness things that we weren’t as good at as we hoped we be in the fall.”

WVU did try to make up for the three weeks it lost during summer workouts, but Brown still felt his team’s development was behind schedule.

It’s quite the opposite this season and he hopes that will lead to “less repeated mistakes” when the Mountaineers take the field this fall.

The first of 14 spring practices will kick off on March 22 and lead up to the Gold-Blue game on April 23.