MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Neal Brown is approaching the spring as an opportunity to get things fixed.
He said this week that he isn’t hiding from the fact that the Mountaineers were unsuccessful last season. They went 5-7 overall, and even though the won two of their final three games, they failed to make a bowl game and finished with a losing record for the third time in four seasons.
Entering the spring, Brown said the coaching staff is “confronting” the team’s weaknesses. By partnering with a data analytics company this offseason, they’ve identified three key areas for improvement that could unlock better results in the fall.
Brown calls these areas for improvement “the three E’s.” The first is a football fundamental: efficiency.
“We’ve got to get better at first down, third down and red zone efficiency,” Brown said Monday during his first press conference of the spring. “We’ve got to be better in those areas.”
The second point of interest is explosive plays. Brown said those were a factor on both sides of the ball last season for WVU.
“Last year, we gave up way too many explosive plays, and we’ve got to figure out a way offensively to utilize our ability to run the ball, to create explosives down the field,” Brown said.
The third “E” is another common one that appeared to hurt the Mountaineers too many times last season in key situations: errors.
Brown wants to get back to fundamentals in the spring to try to minimize errors like costly penalties and communication issues.
“Offensively, that’s procedure penalties, turnovers, TFLs and sacks. Defensively, it’s alignment issues, communication and mixed tackles,” he said.
These three areas are at the center of what Brown thinks he has to fix in order to guide the Mountaineers to a winning record — and beyond.
“When we talk about fixing it, which is what we have to do,” Brown said, “it’s efficiency, explosives and eliminate errors.”