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By LARRY VAUGHT
For the last three years, Neal Brown has been the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and helped the Red Raiders have one of the nation’s top overall offenses. Now the former Boyle County High School three-sport standout is set to come to Kentucky as offensive coordinator. Mike Graham (@MGraham17), staff writer for RedRaiderSports.com and the Dallas Morning News, has covered Texas Tech football and offered these insights on Brown.
Question: How did Brown relate to players during his three years at Texas Tech?
Graham: “Quarterbacks love Neal. He really developed quarterback Seth Doege in Doege’s season as the back up quarterback which was Neal’s first year as Tech’s offensive coordinator and then two seasons as the starter. I don’t think you’ll see Doege cut it in the NFL due to physical limitations but his mechanics are top notch, especially for the college game. I think next year’s starter, Michael Brewer, will come out of the chute and be successful because of what Neal taught him regardless of if Neal is in Lubbock or not.
“Neal was huge in Brewer’s recruitment and Brewer won two state championships at Lake Travis as a quarterback and one as a receiver. Neal has an eye for talent, no doubt. He typically recruited guys Texans knew about but didn’t covet. But those guys would show up on campus and impress you out of the box.
“Neal also is very responsible for Tech’s quarterback commit this year, Davis Webb. Webb competed in the Elite 11 camp, but at best is the third best quarterback in the state according to recruiting services. I think Webb, a 6-foot-5, 195-pounder, could fill out to be Tech’s first draftable quarterback. Of course, with Neal gone, Webb may open up his recruitment again. Whoever gets Webb won’t regret it. The guy is a stud.”
Question: Why were some Texas Tech fans not thrilled with Brown’s offense despite the numbers Tech put up?
Graham: “I think Neal was too plain for Tech fans used to a decade of the quirky Mike Leach. Neal is very subdued. Neal also never coached the Red Raiders to No. 2 in the BCS as Leach did in 2008 after eight years of seven, eight, nine win seasons.
“I think the more educated fans came full circle on Neal though. As early as this season, Neal was viewed as too conservative and it seemed with a 14-point deficit and stalled in the third quarter the Red Raiders would punt the ball away. Leach made his bread and butter coming back from those deficits with aggressive play calling. But as this season wore on, supplemented by Tuberville explanations of why they called certain plays in certain situations, fans sensed Tuberville was holding the offense back with the parameters he set.”