MORGANTOWN — Even when your name is Nehlen there comes a time to move on from West Virginia and so it with Hall of Fame head coach Don Nehlen’s grandson, Ryan, who is following his dad’s footsteps as a coach.
Don Nehlen, of course, won more games than any other coach at WVU, coming in 1980 to open Mountaineer Field and staying until the next century began. Don’s son, Dan, is the longtime equipment manager of the West Virginia program.
And now Ryan, who has served as an offensive analyst since 2018, is getting to on-field coach and will handle the tight ends at McNeese State.
Nehlen was a wide receiver at WVU in 2011 and 2012, catching 12 balls for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
He is expecting the birth a grandchild for Coach Nehlen in three months.
This leaves WVU short in the analyst’s room with the opener against Pitt fast approaching, but head coach Neal Brown said Ryan Nehlen had gotten all the work for the fall camp done and expected to have the job filled before WVU goes into full Pitt mode.
“I’m happy for him, his wife, Micah, and little girl, Penelope,” Brown said. “Obviously, the last name is synonymous with West Virginia football, but we’re happy for Ryan getting his first opportunity at the FCS level. Much deserving.”
Injury report: Linebacker Exree Loe is recovering from surgery last year but according to Brown is making progress and is close while tight end Mike O’Laughlin, also injured last year, will be limited early but Brown said they were “cautiously optimist” about his return.
Cornerback Saint McLeod, a victim of a downtown stabbing in the winter, is not in camp and there was no word on when he might return, although they are hoping he will be enrolled in the fall.
Quarterbacks: Goose Crowder missed the first day of workouts being “under the weather,” according to Brown.
The other three, JT Daniels, Garrett Greene and freshman Nicco Marchiol split reps during the workouts.
Brown noted that they worked on their own during the offseason.
“There’s some good, some bad in that,” Brown said. “It’s good getting repetitions, but you can get some bad habits. Their timing was not what it should be.”
That, they expect, will be worked out quickly.
FYI: School begins on August 17. WVU then will start getting into game mode.
Brown is scheduling his scrimmages on Thursdays, rather than the normal Saturdays, so the players get used to playing on Thursday.
The Pitt opener is in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, as are two other games during a season that makes the schedule difficult to handle.
Brown has 33 new players in camp between freshmen recruits, transfers and junior college additions, which also makes things different.
“Normally, you tell the team in January, ‘This is your team,’” Brown said.
But in January, he had no idea what his team would be and had to wait for the new style recruiting via the transfer portal to come about. And there were a number of surprise defections.
“Now, our roster is set,” Brown told his team. “This is our team.”
He has 81 scholarship players, and room to add four more if they become available.
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