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A final call on WVU’s football season, Neal Brown

A final call on WVU’s football season, Neal Brown

When shaping my final summation of WVU’s 2019 football season, I went old school.

I researched. I looked at the big picture.

What I found is Neal Brown and staff did a very nice job this past season.

Let’s stop here though — because one could point to many numbers to dispute that.

Like the team’s final NCAA statistics.

On offense, the Mountaineers are No. 53 in pass offense (248.7); No. 35 in completion percentage (.637); No. 90 in team pass efficiency (127.52); No. 118 in total offense (321.9); and, most ghastly, No. 128 (of 130) in rush offense (73.3), ahead of only Washington State and Akron.

On defense, WVU is No. 88 in passing yards allowed (239.9); No. 69 in rush defense (159.4); tied at No. 27 in sacks (2.75); and No. 75 in total defense.

And for those special teams geeks, WVU was No. 42 in net punting (39.19); No. 67 in kickoff return (20.5); No. 41 in punt return defense (6.25); No. 111 in punt return (4.58) and – get ready to cheer, Mountaineer fans  – No. 11 in kickoff return defense (17.27).

Not great numbers, especially when you look at the most important stat: winning percentage. There, WVU is tied at No. 81 at .417 with the 5-7 final record. The Mountaineers are tied with teams like TCU, Duke, Nebraska, Colorado and – get this – Troy, Brown’s last coaching stop.

Personally, I thought WVU would finish 6-6, according to my preseason prediction. In the Athlon preseason magazine, the Mountaineers were slotted seventh – where they finished – also with a 6-6 prediction. (Note: I wrote the Athlon preseason story, but did not make the mag’s predictions.)

So why did Brown and company do a “very nice job” this past season?

Because of the insane turnover from the projected two-deep depth chart from the aforementioned Athlon preview.

I compared the two-deep to the Mountaineers’ lineup in their season-ending victory at TCU.

Ready for this? (I’ll you spare you the details.)

Gone or out for extended time from the spring snapshot were Marcus Simms, Tevin Bush, Kwincy Hall, Jacob Buccigrossi, Josh Sills, Jovani Haskins, Jack Allison, Ricky Johns, Martell Pettaway, Taijh Alston, VanDarius Cowan, Josh Chandler, Jordan Adams, Josh Norwood, JoVanni Stewart, Derrek Pitts, Kenny Robinson, Quondarius Qualls and Dreshun Miller. Even kicker Evan Staley had some health issues.

And at season’s end, WVU won at Kansas State and TCU.

So let’s rephrase. Brown and company did a VERY nice job this past season.

I point to the last regular season Sagarin ratings, which takes into account not only results, but schedule strength. There the Mountaineers are No. 53.

Considering the mess Dana Holgorsen left for the next coach and all the attrition, 5-7 is quite an achievement. Could’ve been a lot worse.

Of course, now Brown and company must take the next step: recruiting better players. This past weekend, WVU landed fine in-state defensive end Sean Martin. It was a nice coup.

A Monday afternoon 2020 recruiting class snapshot showed the Mountaineers ranked a high No. 43 (Rivals) and a low of No. 47 (Scout) nationally with 15 commitments. The highest ranked player is across-the-board 4-star running back Lamy Constant.

Also earning 4-star mention, though, are New Jersey offensive lineman Chris Mayo and Florida quarterback Garrett Greene.

The finish to the class is the next aspect to watch.

Apparently, though, Brown is ready for the challenge. After taking time off from Twitter, he emerged Sunday with a “HUGE… Let’s go!!!”

Many within the Mountain State are indeed #TrustingTheClimb.

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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.

 

 

 

 

Big 12, Mountain State and league news

Big 12, Mountain State and league news

I always found spring conference meetings mostly overlooked in regard to college athletics reporting. It’s shocking, I know, because sports writers should be dashing to cover a bunch of old men (mostly) burning through universities’ cash at ritzy places like Scottsdale, Arizona, right? Who wouldn’t want to lurk about hotel lobbies hoping for morsels of… Continue Reading

The Mountaineer team to watch

The Mountaineer team to watch

The breaking news out of Morgantown on Monday was men’s basketball player Sagaba Konate submitted his name for the 2019 NBA Draft and plans to sign with an agent. While new rules say Konate could still return to WVU if not drafted, there is an addendum. According to a contacted Mountaineer representative, Konate can’t return… Continue Reading

Holgorsen comments perplexing

Holgorsen comments perplexing

When I moved from my position as a sports writer at the Charleston Gazette-Mail to Wheelhouse Creative, I tried to do so in a respectful way. I thanked my former co-workers, readers and those that allowed me to tell their stories. I then turned toward my exciting new challenge. I imagine most of you would… Continue Reading

Much is blooming for the Big 12

I remember it well. Because I was smack in the middle of the hailstorm. In my prior life, I covered West Virginia University sports and, by extension, the Big 12, the league in which the Mountaineers reside. And, oh, what a hot mess covering the latter was for a while. Just for giggles, I Googled… Continue Reading

Finding WVU football nuggets

Finding WVU football nuggets

OK, I can breathe a little. My bracket of integrity (the one everything is riding on) has steadied. All that’s left is for Tennessee to stun the world and claim an NCAA men’s championship. (Yes, I really picked the Vols.) For now, though, the storm that is March Madness has calmed. Which gave me a… Continue Reading

WVU hoops in the CBI? Yes siree Bob

WVU hoops in the CBI? Yes siree Bob

At first I thought it preposterous. Surely WVU coach Bob Huggins wanted this season over as quickly as possible. The Mountaineers are 14-20. Players were sent packing. There would be no NCAA tournament. There would be no NIT. Heck, there would be no CIT. Pay to play in the College Basketball Invitational? Against Grand Canyon?… Continue Reading

Getting a handle on the new WVU football program

Getting a handle on the new WVU football program

If you’ve ever wondered why I’m continuing to write after my sports journalism career, it’s simple. By writing this blog each Monday, I’m hoping to spread the word of Wheelhouse Creative. My new firm can be summed up as a big-city marketing and advertising firm that is proudly in West Virginia. I’m trying to spread… Continue Reading

How will Wheeling and MEC hoops mesh?

How will Wheeling and MEC hoops mesh?

It’s funny how perspective can change. I used to be a sports writer and columnist in Charleston. One that implored city officials to wake up or lose the Mountain East basketball tournament. Of course, Charleston did lose the MEC event. They are taking it to the ‘Banco, as the saying goes. But, because of my… Continue Reading

The Tide-al wave WVU’s announcement may create

The Tide-al wave WVU’s announcement may create

Thursday was a terrific day in Wheeling. We had our first “Off the Record” show, courtesy of Wheelhouse Creative and Generations. Our very special guest was WVU athletic director Shane Lyons – who was a big hit. Lyons packed Generations. And he gave us much insight — from killing rumors the football stadium was moving… Continue Reading

WVU’s Wells sees what Brown can do for him

WVU’s Wells sees what Brown can do for him

For the last handful of years, WVU Senior Associate Athletic Director Matt Wells has been slugging it out with a national trend. Overall, college football season ticket sales have been on the decline, with the exception of the Big Ten. And that’s not all. After last season, Wells found himself staring at another opponent: the… Continue Reading

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? Facebook Knows Them Better

How Well Do You Know Your Friends? Facebook Knows Them Better

Have you ever been out at a restaurant and seen someone from across the room for the first time in your life, and the next day the same person is suggested as “People You May Know” on Facebook? This isn’t by some coincidence or divine intervention. Facebook has a very in-depth (and somewhat creepy) algorithm… Continue Reading

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