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Brown disappointed in OU postponement, recognizes bigger picture

(Neal Brown MetroNews Talkline interview)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For nearly three months, the WVU football team has gone through the season with relatively few impacts due to COVID. That run of good fortune aided by good preparation came to an end Wednesday through no fault of their own.

Saturday’s scheduled matchup between the Mountaineers and Oklahoma has been postponed to December 12 due to positive cases within the OU program. The Sooners have paused team activities.

“We’ve got a whole building full of people who wish we had a game this weekend,” said WVU head coach Neal Brown.

“There has been so much chaos since March, this is just another piece to it. I am disappointed for a lot of different reasons. We have to be willing to change and adjust. I feel like our staff and our players have done a pretty good job with that going back to March. This is just another obstacle we have to overcome.”

During the season, only one Mountaineer player has tested positive for COVID. Brown says the weekly rounds of testing still provide anxious moments.

“We test Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. And every time we test until I get the results, I am always nervous. I am not surprised, I am not shocked that we had a game postponed. I thought it was probably a matter of time. I have been extremely appreciative of how our players and our staff have handled all of the COVID requirements, procedures and protocols.

“But I know it is not something we are going to continue to defeat. It is real. It is growing, cases are growing here in West Virginia and nationally. We are trying to do all the right things but at some point, we were going to experience some difficulty. This time it was out of our control.”

Brown says his team was understandably disappointed with the postponement coming off a bye week which followed a 24-6 win over TCU.

“It is hard to rationalize when you are talking to a group of 17-to-23 year olds to say something you really worked hard for is postponed. And oh by the way, it had nothing to do with you.

“We are fortunate we have gotten to this point where we have played eight football games. But I am not shocked or surprised we have had one postponed this year.”

As a result of the postponement, WVU players will have their scheduled break after the Iowa State game and before a potential bowl game altered.

“Most of our guys have been here since the middle of June and haven’t been able to go home. That’s tough. There was a little bit of light coming at the end of the tunnel. With our schedule, we were going to play tomorrow night and then December 5th. And then they knew we were going to have a break where they knew they were going to go home for a few days. Not only are they disappointed about the game being postponed, now their opportunity to go home is being postponed.”

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