West Virginia head football coach Neal Brown was the only man to take the podium at WVU’s weekly press conference on Tuesday.
The Mountaineers look to lick their wounds before hosting Baylor for the first prime time game in Morgantown of the Neal Brown era.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Closing the book on Texas
WVU enters the bye week after a 33-20 loss on the road to Texas.
“I’m disappointed in how we played,” Brown said. “I really expected Texas to [have a] fast start, that’s kind of who they’ve been and that’s kind of how they’ve played over the last couple of years with [Steve Sarkisian]. I don’t think we handled adversity very well at all in the first half.”
The Mountaineers allowed 28 unanswered points to start the game, and despite a start on offensive start that Brown said wasn’t “bad,” they never seemed to really be in the competition.
Some mistakes, including a pair of untimely dropped passes, added to the deflation, and the head coach was unsatisfied with his team’s response.
“Really, I didn’t think we handled it after that,” Brown said. “Credit, we did bounce back and competed better in the second half but it was a little too late.”
Of course, Brown did give credit to Texas and its players, including stars Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy, who each had big games for the Longhorns.
An update on WVU’s growing injured list
Brown provided an important update on running back CJ Donaldson, who he said is currently recovering and in the team’s concussion protocol. The coach also indicated that Donaldson will miss WVU’s game against Baylor on Oct. 13.
Both spectators and supporters were given a scare on Saturday when Donaldson went down with an apparent head or neck injury. After a more than 10-minute delay to the game, Donaldson was cut out of his shoulder pads, loaded onto a stretcher and carted off the field. He was cleared from the hospital that night and flew home with the team.
Donaldson was one of several Mountaineers who sustained injuries in the contest, however he mostly held back details on who was injured and how badly those injuries might be.
“We had a couple of significant injuries,” Brown said. “I think we had a total of four concussions in the game.”
Tight end Mike O’Laughlin also left the game after taking a hit to his braced knee. He exited the field on his own power but did not return.
“He’s getting checked out this week and so I’ll kind of let you all know as we get into Baylor prep,” Brown said.
“We got beat up pretty good,” Brown said.
A look ahead to the “pseudo” bye week
WVU’s open week is a tad unconventional as the squad prepares for its third Thursday night game of the season.
Brown gave his team Sunday and Monday off to help players recover from the five-week gauntlet to start the season. The Mountaineers returned to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before one more off day on Thursday. Preparations for Baylor begin on Friday.
“Normally in a bye week…you get a weekend off and they can usually go home and those types of things, but because of the schedule, that’s not going to be the case here,” Brown said.
Brown plans to use the first of his team’s two bye weeks to develop young players, strengthen the kick return unit, build depth in the wide receiver room and on defense.