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October 31, 2019

Neal Brown

Waco, Texas

Baylor 17 - West Virginia 14

HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: A lot of guys hurt in that locker room. I hurt for them. I hurt because they invested. They came up short. I don't know if we necessarily got beat but we came up short, and I don't mean that as a slight to Baylor. Matt's done an incredible job here. They played with a ton of confidence but they played well and found a way to win. You know, they got a lot of moxy. They got some guys that have been through some battles, veterans on both sides.

But out kids really competed. They competed. We had a great last week and a half preparation for this game. Felt good about it coming in. I know we were 18, 19-point under Doug and people didn't give us much chance but I really felt good about this game coming in and so I just hurt for our guys. I hurt for them.

Told them right after the game, proud of them and I mean that. Proud of them. It's not okay to lose but I'm proud of them. I appreciate them. I love them. They are buying in. We lost a bunch of guys during the game. Staley was hurt early in the week. Tried to give it a go but he couldn't go in pregame. Then we lost multiple guys during the course of that game and thought guys that had not played very much came in, stepped up.

Thought it was a tremendous defensive effort. They gave us a chance. I thought that was the story of the game. We had eight sacks, ten TFLs, a goal line stand, forced fumble, forced a few fumbles.

Special teams, kickoff return was huge. We had the fumble recovery on the punt. I thought our kickoff team and punt coverage was really, really good and offense was just a struggle. They whipped us up front. We can sit here and talk about it all we want, but they had their way with us up front. We had multiple drives, I think three of them, I think we had five and three of them would have been for first downs. Two of them would have swung the field position battle, but it was a struggle.

Putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback when we struggle to run the ball and you know, it wasn't anything special they were doing. They kind of played what we did and they whipped us. That's what it was. So with that, I'll answer questions.

Q. Without Evan, your confidence level in Casey --
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: Yeah, he's performed well. That's my fault. We got people that are kind of in charge looking at the clock but at the end of the day it's my fault. I'm sitting there worrying about how we are going to use our time outs, how we are going to kick off. I didn't see the clock. That's on me.

He hit the first one and felt good about it and we had late ball get-off. They got good push and they did a good job. I guess they have blocked nine kicks now in 12 games. I mean, we knew what they were going to do. They put three guys down there, about 900 pounds and they get push.

What happened, our guard was late off the ball and they got push and he got it. But got a lot of confidence in him. Any pressure situation in practice he came through. I think he kicked off one time against Baylor last year but this is the first time he had been in a football game period. But I've got confidence in him.

Q. Is that the best you've seen from your defense this year?
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: Yeah, there's no doubt. There's no doubt. They kept us in it. I thought our defensive line, we just played really hard. We played hard on offense. Just not very good.

And some of that's what we're down to, I mean -- but yeah, I thought especially our defensive line, they really put pressure on Charlie all night, and they made some contested catches. They are good at wide out. Obviously the one was kind of the back breaker there at the end of the game. I've got to see it. I've got to see it. I didn't see how it landed. I know there's some pushing, shoving. I've just got to look before I speak about it.

Q. What is the chain of communication supposed to be?
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: I told you, you asked a bunch of questions, I told you it was my fault. Bottom line, I'm the head coach. My fault.

Q. Schematically, the defense was a lot different today. Playing with almost a linebacker today --
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: We're about out of linebackers. So it's kind of out of necessity.

Then we lost Guzman, who is playing that third safety and then we were really in base and we were kind of moving Jake Long around, trying to teach him hit in the middle of the game. I mean, if you look at it from an injury standpoint, we lose Barrent (ph), we lose Simmons, we lose Kennedy and really we had a bunch of things for Kennedy which showed some of that wildcat stuff early. We held a bunch of it we were hoping in the second half. We lost him. Wheaton got banged up.

And then defensively, Norwood with the penalty and we lose Guzman. We don't have very many scholarship safeties anyway, so credit to I thought vic and the defensive staff really scrambled and got us -- our kids played hard but we got us in some things schematically that gave us a chance.

Q. Some of the offensive line struggled. Some of the illegal procedure calls, are they pressing?
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: I'm not sure all those are correct. I have to go back and look. I don't know. Until I see them, I can't speak on -- but I mean, we just got beat.

We can sit up here and talk all we want. Watch the game, there's some things -- we are struggling for a reason. We got some deficiencies, we try to hide them. We have to do a better job as coaches. I've said that the whole time but they have got three down linemen that are really good. Really good. If you look at it, everybody that they have played had trouble against them.

Q. First one -- mechanical --
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: Both, neither one of them weren't even supposed to be snapped yet. They weren't even supposed to be snapped. I can't explain that honestly. I don't -- neither one of them had been asked for the ball, I don't believe. So I don't know how many lost yardage, killed the red zone -- in the first half, we're inside the ten, first and goal, right. Hard to overcome that.

Q. How much does it tie your hands when you can't put your backup?
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: Yeah, it does, I mean, it does. But here's the deal, man. We had a chance to win a game. We had a chance to win a game. Defensively we played well enough. Offensively, we had third and two and we went for a home run and the play was there. We didn't execute well but the play was there. We needed to be aggressive to win. Went for it on fourth down. Casey kicked pregame and that's why I felt confident tying it up. It is what it is.

Q. This felt like one of those games where maybe a young team that doesn't quite know how to get over the finish line yet -- do you think that's a fair assessment of this?
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: Well, I don't know. I don't know. It hard to -- you've got to go back and kind of watch it and kind of assess. I think both teams made a lot of mistakes in this game. I don't think it was a pretty football game which probably played into our hands really. It was probably ugly at times probably to watch.

But here is what I think. They are undefeated. They are in year three of a really good turnaround. I don't think their kids ever lost faith. They have a lot of confidence in their ability. I think it goes back to their quarterback because he's a tough kid and he competes.

And we're in year one here, and I think this -- what this showed is we came on the road in a hostile environment on Halloween, national TV, coming off really a putrid half of football at Oklahoma and we lost three in a row, and I think what you saw is a group of kids that laid it on the line and invested and fought.

At the end the deal, we just ran out of time. We didn't necessarily get beat. We just ran out of time and now what we've got to take is we've got to take that same strength, that same effort we played, the same physicality we played, especially on the defensive side and on special teams, and then we have got to continue to do that and find ways to give ourselves the ability to get the ball in the end zone offensively.

So we played good enough to win on special teams. Played good enough to win on defense, and offensively, we didn't.

Q. You mentioned the Oklahoma game, and the focus was on you all getting better. Obviously your guys bought into this, sticking it out and doing this. Is that part of your message?
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: We just -- kind of what I said the other day in the press conference. We were talking about, we just had to focus on getting better.

To me, it's getting better. I knew if we continued this process of getting better, we just trusted what we were doing; if we focused on the task at hand and didn't get carried away on being result-oriented, if we just focused on position in each team meetings, periods of practice, did our preparation, I knew we would have a chance to win the game and we did. We'll have chance to win -- every game we play, we'll have a chance if we do those things.

So I never for one second thought our kids wouldn't answer the bell. Any time we have had any adversity they have answered, and that's why I hurt for them. As a coach when guys lay it on the line, we have emotional kids, we have guys that are hurting in that locker room and they are hurting because they invested and they are all in on what we are doing.

Some of the beliefs that happened tonight, it will pay off down the road. It will pay off at some point this season and it will pay off in years to come.

Q. Anything at halftime?
HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN: We just said we are going to come out and throw the football. I don't even know how many times we tried to run the second half. We made the decision at the half, we were just going to come out and throw it. We were getting spread sets and throw it.

We felt like we had an opportunity to hit the home run, George came in and did it. It was a great play and great throw and they changed how they were playing us after that. But that was really coming out of halftime.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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