Quick Hits: Neal Brown talks Texas win, injuries and previews Kansas

Gold and Blue Nation

Neal Brown gives his thoughts on what Kansas is doing well, and what his team did well against the Longhorns.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU head coach Neal Brown gave his final mid-week media briefing of the regular season on Tuesday ahead of West Virginia’s matchup against Kansas.

Brown not only previewed his team’s last game of the regular season, but also gave an injury update and spoke about third down conversion rates.

Texas game was a complete game

Brown described Saturday’s win over Texas a “three-phase win.”

What does he mean by that? They got it done on offense, defense and special teams.

“We played quality football in all three phases,” Brown said. “We could play better. I don’t think we played our best.”

He added that on the defensive end his unit limited explosive plays.

“I thought we finished the game,” he said.

Offensively, Brown said: “It starts with zero turnovers. We didn’t turn the ball over. And we dominated time of possession.”

The head coach also appreciated the fact that his team converted on third downs — twelve times they did that — and that they scored in the red zone.

Injury updates

Brown gave an update on a couple of Mountaineer players that are working their way back into the fold.

The head coach is hopeful that linebacker Lance Dixon can come back this week. He’s also hopeful that wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton can play on Saturday, after he left the most recent game early with a lower body injury.

Redshirt junior cornerback Charles Woods practiced on Monday, according to Brown. Once again, the head coach is hopeful that Woods can return to the field this week.

Meanwhile, redshirt senior bandit VanDarius Cowan is not injured, though he didn’t dress on Saturday against the Longhorns. Brown categorized Cowan’s ability to return as “up to him.”

Doege was key in high third down conversion rate

Jarret Doege was named the Big 12 conference’s Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, after his performance against the Longhorns. Part of that performance was helping WVU convert on a large number of third down attempts.

“His pocket movement was better,” Brown said of his third down performance. “He threw the ball. He had a good day.”

Brown added, “He had a really good day. I thought the ball really jumped off his hand.”

Part of that, Brown said, was that he thought they called plays that he described as Doege’s “best plays.” Crossing routes over the middle were featured multiple times on third down.

“That’s something that we focused on,” said Brown.

The head coach also says he uses analytics on third and fourth down the most, adding that he starts to look at it during the course of the drive.

Looking ahead to game at Kansas

“Huge game for us on the road,” Brown said when previewing this Saturday’s game against the Jayhawks.

Brown noted that Kansas is playing well right now. KU knocked off Texas in Austin two weeks ago, and nearly did the same to TCU last week.

“They do a really good job of shifting in motion,” Brown said of the Jayhawks’ offense. “They want to get you confused.”

Brown said he sees two reasons why Kansas is playing well right now. One, he said, is that Coach Lance Leipold and his staff are getting their message across in their first season in Lawrence. And two, quarterback Jalon Daniels is getting it done — he can pass and run as a dual-threat QB –, and is motivating the rest of his team.

Kansas has not only played teams close each of the last two weeks, but also put Oklahoma on upset notice in Lawrence last month.

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