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Neal Brown Sees Promise from Young Guys During Bye Week

Some decisions have to be made on the redshirt front.

The bye week is a good time to take a step back and evaluate what you've done well and what you need to work on or tweak to be more successful the next time you hit the field. However, it's also a crucial week for the future of the program in terms of recruiting and even developing the underclassmen that are already on the roster. 

During last week's bye, Neal Brown let the young guys go at it in a scrimmage for three straight days to see where they are at in their development. Tuesday, Brown provided an update on how those scrimmages went and who flashed. 

"To really put together some standouts from those scrimmages, defensively, [DE] Taurus Simmons continues to impress. You saw he got into the rotation at Baylor and I think he'll continue to be in the rotation. [Safety] Saint McLeod was probably the bright spot of the week. He played on special teams against Baylor and I think he'll continue to do that. I feel really good about the future for him. Athletic, physical, starting to learn what we're doing. [Defensive lineman] Edward Vesterinen did a nice job. And I thought Davis Mallinger who has been playing on special teams, had a really good week.

"Offensively [QB] Goose Crowder, I'm really impressed with his leadership. I think he continues to grow, he's gotten stronger. I like his potential. I like his leadership traits, he can run. He had a really good week - impressive. [Offensive lineman] Tomas Rimac is playing in a way different style of offense than he did in high school. He's getting better at pass pro, I thought he had a good week. And then [WR] Kaden Prather continues to show up. He's a guy that I think will have a good second half. And then [RB] Justin Johnson and [TE] Charles Finley. He's still light, he needs to gain weight but I thought he competed and did a nice job."

If you read up on a lot of these younger guys here on Mountaineer Maven, you already know how high I am on Goose Crowder. He's the best natural thrower of the football that WVU has on the roster and I don't think it's close. Although Garrett Greene has been getting some game action here and there, I see Crowder having a better chance of being the Mountaineers' next full-time starter. 

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Many of the others that Brown mentioned are all names that you've heard before but offensive lineman Tomas Rimac and safety Saint McLeod are two guys that haven't been talked much about. Rimac played in a run-based offense in high school that didn't really ask him to do much in terms of pass protection. He's already a strong run blocker and could push for playing time beginning next season. As for McLeod, he is a vicious hitter that can be extremely helpful when coming downhill and stopping the run game. He possesses great hands and makes really good jumps on routes, which will oftentimes lead to interceptions. He's got a very similar game to that of former West Virginia safety, Tykee Smith.

When you look around at the entire freshman class, there are a number of guys that have already appeared in a few games. Now, the coaching staff has to start making decisions on whether to hold them under the four-game threshold and maintain their redshirt or let them contribute and lose their redshirt status for this season. 

"The one we've really got to make a call on is [CB] [Andrew] Wilson-Lamp," Neal Brown said. "He's right at that number of games. We're going to play Davis [Mallinger]. Saint [McLeod] still has a couple of games that he can play. [DL] Hammond Russell is a guy that we would probably like to hold but if we need him, we'll use him. Edward Vesterinen will play. KP [Kaden Prather] will obviously play. Justin Johnson is going to play. [OL] Wyatt [Milum] is going to play. I think those are the main guys."

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