MORGANTOWN — In an attempt to get over Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State as quickly as possible, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown moved the team’s practice up a day. Instead of practicing Monday morning, the Mountaineers practiced Sunday night.
“I just wanted to get that game out of our system,” Brown said during his weekly press conference on Monday. “So we came in (Sunday) night and we did our normal Monday morning practice.”
WVU (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) had a dreadful fourth quarter against the Cowboys. The Mountaineers led 24-20 entering the frame, but OSU running back Ollie Gordon ripped off three long touchdown runs and racked up 149 rushing yards to steal a 48-34 victory.
“I wasn’t really pleased with how we finished the game and I just didn’t want to put that much dead time in between it,” Brown said. “So we brought them in (Sunday) night, flushed that game and we’re moving on to Central Florida.”
While Brown didn’t think there was any hangover from the previous week’s loss to Houston, he said he wouldn’t know how his team will respond to Saturday’s loss until they get further into the week.
“I think it’s really more about the response on Tuesday,” Brown said. “Tuesday and Wednesday lead you into Saturday.”
Nehlen to be Immortalized
Legendary WVU football coach Don Nehlen will have his name emblazoned on the Diversified Energy Terrace inside Milan Puskar Stadium alongside some of the team’s all-time greats during the Mountaineers’ game against Cincinnati on Nov. 18.
“I want to congratulate Coach Nehlen,” Brown said. “What a well-deserved honor. I’m so happy for him and his family.”
Nehlen coached WVU for 21 seasons and is the all-time winningest coach in program history with 202 victories under his belt. He was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
“One of the best people I know and he’s been great to me,” Brown said. “I’m very, very happy for him.”
Nehlen’s name will appear alongside the retired numbers of Major Harris (9), Ira Rodgers (21), Sam Huff (75), Bruce Bosley (77) and Darryl Talley (90).
“Coach Nehlen’s first job was at Cincinnati, the first team he played at WVU was Cincinnati and now his name’s going to be put into the stands against Cincinnati,” Brown concluded.
Two starters did not play for WVU against Oklahoma State — spear Lance Dixon and offensive guard Tomas Rimac.
Brown said Dixon missed the game due to a suspension and his status is “to be determined.”
Rimac, who warmed up Saturday, will be available this week against UCF.
“Whether he’ll start or not will be how he does Tuesday and Wednesday,” Brown said. “But he’ll be available to play.”
Kicker Michael Hayes was slow to get up following the Mountaineers’ final touchdown on Saturday, but Brown said he was just dealing with a cramp and is not hurt.
Receiver Hudson Clement left the game early and did not return. Brown said he is doubtful to play Saturday, but he should return this season.
“He got rolled up on our touchdown,” Brown said. “It’s too early to tell, I would say doubtful unless he makes some good improvement.”
In his place, junior EJ Horton could see a bigger role on offense.
“He played his most snaps in a game on Saturday and he’ll continue,” Brown said. “He had a little shoulder injury, but he’s practiced for about three weeks in a row. You can tell with the reps he’s getting better.”
Horton, who missed time early in the year, had his most-productive game against the Cowboys, making three receptions for 79 yards.