Mountaineer Coach Neal Brown proffered his thoughts about his young team
Head Coach Neal Brown believes that his team’s inexperience will be an asset, when the West Virginia Mountaineers suit up against James Madison University on Saturday afternoon.
“We’re so young. I’m going to be worried about what we’re doing. Truthfully, if we had an experienced team, I would be much more worried about opening up against a FCS opponent. According to some of the NFL stuff, they have more NFL prospects than we do. I don’t think we have to worry one bit about our guys overlooking anybody or not respecting their game. All they’ve got to do is turn on the ‘film.”
Coach Brown recently named 6’2’, 225 lb. Red-shirt Junior Austin Kendall, as hi
s starting quarterback. Kendall, a Oklahoma transfer garnered most of his snaps his freshman year, under Head Coach Bob Stoops. He saw limited action the following two years and red-shirted his sophomore year.
The Head Coach responded to a question about information overload with the following statement,
“For us, we want our guys to play fast. Let’s not try to think too much. Let’s try to put them in a position where they can react and not think. That’s going to be our goal. That’s what we want to achieve.”
As far as a game plan goes, Brown wants to emphasize the team’s strengths and what his players do well. During the press conference, coach Brown stated that he wanted to keep the scheme simple for his players and difficult for his opponent. The Mountaineer faithful will have to wait and see exactly what that entails, this Saturday.
On the opposite side of the field, the Dukes are anything but inexperienced. They are currently ranked second in the FCS and they field a bevy of Power 5 transfers. Former University of Pittsburgh Quarterback Ben DiNucci will begin his second season under center. The Redshirt Senior has made the CFPA FCS National Performer of the Year Watch List. DiNucci will have Brandon Polk as a target at Wide Receiver. Polk spent four years at Penn State and is a Redshirt Senior. Though not a Power 5 school, UCF transfer running back, Jawon Hamilton gained experience with an undefeated team, in 2017.
On the defensive front, 6’3” 269 pound Redshirt Senior Ron’Dell Carter is a Rutgers Defensive Lineman transfer, while Redshirt Junior Wayne Davis is a Safety that spent his first two years, at Ohio State University.
To sum it all up, you have an experienced FCS squad staring down the barrel of a Big 12 Conference musket. Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium is a sellout for the first game of 2019. The crowd will play a role as the twelfth man. Odds Shark has the Mountaineers winning and covering the spread.
My take: The story lines this week have focused on JMU Head Coach Curt Cignetti’s ties to West Virginia. He has a history here, since his father was a former Head Coach. The focus on Coach Brown has been his ascension from Troy to WVU. Once the niceties are over and the pigskin is kicked off at 2:00 pm. to start the game, it’ll be “Welcome to the Big Twelve!”
Here is a link to an article on how you can watch the game
You can listen to the game on Mountaineer Sports Network 100.9FM and Sirius XM 200