Neal Brown made it clear that he had one goal throughout the 2019 season: “We just want to get better.”
The Mountaineers without a doubt struggled on the gridiron in his first year at the helm, missing out on postseason play as their offense faltered through most of the season. That six word phrase seemed to become a mantra for Brown as he attempted to navigate his inaugural season.
As he looks forward to his second crack at Big 12 football, his goals seem to echo a familiar tone.
“What we’ve talked about is improvement,” Brown said. “We’re looking for improvement. We’re looking for improvement across the board — offense, defense, special teams. We feel like if we make the improvements that we’ve really been stressing since January, then it will show up in that win-loss deal.”
Of course, that got much more difficult when his team all went their separate ways in March. That forced Brown and his staff to quickly change their focus away from the football field.
“As far as expectations and all that kind of stuff, we’re just wading through it,” he said. “I mean honestly, like, I’m focused on, we need to win…operating the program remotely.”
It’s tough to define how a football team wins when they can’t line 11 players up and snap the ball, so Brown is keeping his team’s short-term goals simple. As long as his team is healthy, maintains their academic success, stays in shape and is ready to play football when they are allowed, that’s a victory.
“So we’re focused on winning this time right now, and then when we actually get back into the football aspect, we’ll start worrying about that then,” he said.