MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU football coach Neal Brown held his weekly press conference Tuesday, looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown with No. 11 Oklahoma State.
Brown shared some important personnel updates, previewed West Virginia’s next opponent, and shared some thoughts on two recognizable names in college football.
Here are four takeaways from his latest media session:
Two Mountaineers are out for the remainder of the season, according to the head coach.
Brown confirmed that tight end Mike O’Laughlin is done for the year, while defensive back Nicktroy Fortune will miss the rest of the regular season. Both players sustained lower body injuries during the TCU game, and neither played in the upset win over Iowa State.
O’Laughlin appeared in six games, making 11 receptions. Fortune has played in seven games, logging 25 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Another talented running back
The Big 12 is loaded with sensational backs this season. Last week, the Mountaineers had to contain the league’s 2020 rushing champ. This week, their focus is on Oklahoma State’s Jaylen Warren.
Brown likes the way he plays.
“The thing that I really respect about Jaylen Warren is that he runs the ball angry,” Brown said. “He is a violent runner. He gets downhill, he breaks tackles. It’s impressive.”
Warren is one of five Big 12 running backs averaging more than 100 yards per game this season. He also averages just under five yards per carry.
On Gary Patterson
Brown began his press conference with an ode to longtime TCU coach Gary Patterson, who was recently fired by the program after 21 seasons.
“Really one of the legends in the coaching community. He’s been a great mentor to me, especially early in my head coaching career. I think he’s just been great for the profession,” Brown said.
Brown and he Mountaineers are 3-0 against Patterson and TCU over the last three seasons, including a 29-17 WVU win this season.
On Saturday’s festivities
During the Oklahoma State game, WVU will retire Major Harris’s No. 9. Brown remembers the former Mountaineer star well.
“That was my introduction to West Virginia football, is being a young fan watching Major Harris,” Brown said. “At the time, he was so unique.”
Brown hopes fans will pack the stands for what’s likely to be another memorable afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium. The number retirement ceremony will be just the fifth in program history, and the matchup on the field will mark West Virginia’s second in a row against a ranked Big 12 foe.
Even though the stadium was only three-quarters full for the Iowa State game, he thinks he crowd still made a difference.
“The hope is we’ll have a big crowd,” Brown said. “We need them. This is a team that’s had our number a little bit, so we’re looking forward to getting out there and competing.”