Over the past two weeks, we’ve been taking a closer look at West Virginia’s roster ahead of the upcoming football season. As we’ve covered all the positions on the offense, let’s take it one step further and check in with the coaching staff on that side of the ball.
While a few titles may have changed slightly over two seasons, all but one of WVU’s offensive assistants joined the program with Neal Brown in 2019.
Matt Moore — assistant head coach/offensive line
After struggling upfront in 2019, the offensive was a bright spot in 2020. The program finished with 1,351 rushing yards compared to 879 yards in 2019. The line also paved the way for running back Leddie Brown to register a 1,000-yard season.
He has one thing at his disposal that he hasn’t had in his two years with the program — depth. He currently has 17 linemen at his disposal this season and returns three of five starters. His room also has a talented trio of Spring Valley products that will be with the program in 2021. One of them, Wyatt Milum, was the top tackle prospect in the state of West Virginia and Moore was his main recruiter.
Moore has been working on cross-training and communication with his group this off-season. He wants to build versatile players and saw success in doing so this spring.
Gerad Parker — offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach
Parker is the newest addition to the offensive coaching staff as he joined the Mountaineers in 2020. He was passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach at Penn State in 2019.
A year that saw the resurgence in the ground game also saw its struggles for the receiving corps. The big key this spring was eliminating the dropped passes and maturity. Both Parker and Coach Brown said the group needs to better control its emotions and responses when things go poorly. Parker tasked his group with “getting lost in the work” this off-season.
WVU averaged 11 yards per catch last season. Winston wright led all receivers with 553 yards and two touchdowns on 47 receptions. He also ranked No. 5 in the league in receiving yards per game (55.3).
Parker also helped recruit Kaden Prather as part of the 2021 class. Prather was tabbed the No. 13 recruit in the state of Maryland by ESPN.
Chad Scott — co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach
On a number of different occasions, head coach Neal Brown has credited Chad Scott for the improvements in Leddie Brown’s game last season, and the senior running back has said the same thing himself. In Scott’s first year working with the star running back, Brown finished with just 367 yards and one touchdown. Now, keep in mind, the offensive line’s struggles impacted the ground game in 2019, but Brown nearly tripled his stats in year two of working with Scott.
In 2020, Brown rushed for 1,010 yards and 9 TDs on 199 attempts. Those numbers ranked him as the No. 2 running back in the Big 12 Conference. This spring, Scott was helping Brown tighten up those little things in his game to help get him reach his potential of becoming a big-league back.
Scott also recruited a pair of backs in the 2021 signing class that are ranked inside the top 50 at their position by ESPN, Jaylen Anderson and Justin Johnson Jr. Anderson was listed as the No. 13 overall RB in the state of Ohio and No. 26 nationally at the position. Johnson was ESPN’s No. 13 overall recruit in the state of Illinois and the No. 48 back nationally. Scott said this spring both players have the potential to be “elite” players. The goal is to have three running backs ready to go this fall. The emphasis this offseason is solidifying the second and third guys that will be behind Brown.
Sean Reagan — quarterbacks
In Reagan’s first year with the program, Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall was the starting quarterback. Kendall completed 187-of-304 passes for 1,989 yards and 12 touchdowns that season. With the unreliable ground game, Kendall and the receivers were counted on for most of the production. Kendall averaged 20.8 completions per game in 2019, ranking No. 4 in the Big 12 and No. 25 nationally. Last season, he held the backup role. He played the second half of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and led WVU to a comeback win over Army. In his final game as a Mountaineer, he passed for 121 yards and two TDs.
Reagan has also been working with Jarret Doege over the past two seasons. Doege started the final three games of 2019 before taking over as the starter last season.
Through 10 games, he completed 239 of 374 passing attempts for 2,587 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. Doege had a stretch of four consecutive games that saw 300+ passing yards. He finished the year with an average of 258.7 yards per game.
Under Reagan’s leadership, WVU finished with 2,984 passing yards in 2019 and 2,775 in 2020. He recruited Will “Goose” Crowder as the QB of the 2021 class. Crowder was ranked the No. 27 prospect in Alabama and No. 35 overall at his position by ESPN. He was also listed as the No. 15 pro-style quarterback by QB Hit List.
Travis Trickett — tight ends/inside receivers
Trickett has served as the inside receiver and tight end coach over the past two seasons.
In 2019, receiver T.J. Simmons was WVU’s third-leading receiver with 35 catches and four touchdowns. He finished in Big 12 Conference’s top 20 in receptions per game, receiving yards per game and receiving touchdowns. Last season, Simmons finished as the No. 3 receiver with 401 yards. He led all at the position with yards per catch (17.4 yards) and yards per game (50.1). He also had a team-high four receiving touchdowns.
West Virginia currently has six tight ends on its roster and five are on scholarship. A pair of redshirt juniors in Mike O’Laughlin and TJ Banks are the top returners at the position. O’Laughlin started all but one game and finished with 15 receptions for 137 yards and one TD. His best showing in terms of stats came at Texas Tech, finishing with two catches for 44 yards, including a long of 34. Banks finished the year with four catches for 41 yards and one touchdown. That two-yard score came in Lubbock, Texas, and led to a tied ballgame between the Mountaineers and Red Raiders.
Trickett recruited the No. 1-prospect from Sweden, tight end Victor Wikstrom as part of the 2021 class.