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Neal Brown Speaks on Tykee Smith Departure

West Virginia head coach Neal Brown discusses Tykee Smith's exit

On Wednesday, All-American West Virginia SPEAR safety Tykee Smith announced he was entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. On Saturday, following the second day of spring practice, head coach Neal Brown addressed the departure of Smith before anyone from the media had to ask, calling it a “mutual separation,” and it didn’t come as a surprise.

“It’s a lot like some relationships that I’m sure everyone has been in - it just gets to a point where it’s best for both parties, and that’s kind of where we were,” said Brown. “Nothing negative to say about him and had a really good two years here being productive on the field, and we wish him the best.”

West Virginia head coach Neal Brown looking over the first day of the 2021 spring practice period.

West Virginia is fortunate to have some veterans in the secondary, especially at the safety position, although, at the moment, they are not a deep group. Scottie Young, who transferred in from Arizona last August, filled in for the absent Smith in the Mountaineers win over Army in the Liberty Bowl. However, Brown has personnel that can be multiple and the SPEAR position is too.

“I think that spear position just through the years it's been two different body types. We can move a third corner in there and play, or you can put your third or fourth safety in there and play,” said Brown. “The spear is always the edge of our defense in the field a lot, and a lot of plays get funneled out to them. If you're playing a safety body, if we’re playing more of a corner body, then we change our coverage, and we make somebody else the edge of the defense to the field, whether it’s a MIKE (middle) linebacker or we can drop our safety in there, and he can be the edge to the field. So, we have some flexibility with our defensive calls - we also have some versatility with the guys that we can move around. Scotty played there in the Bowl Game, obviously a different style of offense, but he played there in the Bowl Game. Alonzo D can play there. Jackie Matthews can bump in there and play. The hope is all these returners, the guys that are returning, that they'll learn how to play the entire show. So, we’re gonna continue to build as we go through.”

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