First things first. Last week I accused Central Florida of double scheduling football games with West Virginia University and Auburn. An action which left WVU scrambling for an opponent very late in the process. While UCF did have to back out of a game with West Virginia at a fairly late date, it was Buffalo which had a game contracted with WVU, but scheduled a game with Auburn on the same date when the Alabama school offered Buffalo more money.
Anyway, perhaps more troubling than past scheduling issues could be the Mountaineers' quarterback position this fall. WVU fans all know that the Pat White era is over. How much White has meant to West Virginia's football program the last four years can't be overstated. He could hurt you with his arm, but his legs were lethal.
He could run for touchdowns from anywhere on the field and often did late in games to decide them. Perhaps more important than game winning scores was White's ability to get necessary yardage for shorter runs for first downs. While he often could just run by a defense and get out of bounds on such plays, he could and would not hesitate to take on defenders in the middle of the field. Whatever it took, White could and would do it.
For White's last three years in Morgantown there has been another pretty talented player waiting for his turn to play quarterback. Fans of the program know about Jarrett Brown. He has had to take the reins of the team as a starter twice and was able to get wins. Brown, however, was unable to pull out games as a reliever in games with South Florida and Pitt in 2007. Part of the reason for that is that Brown is not the same kind of player as White and former coach Rich Rodriguez would not give Brown the plays more suited to his skills.
Those skills include a very strong arm and very good speed. Not Pat White speed, but good speed. Brown is much bigger too, like 6-3, 225. With the Rodriguez defection to Michigan, new head coach Bill Stewart brought in Jeff Mullen as the offensive coordinator. To make a long story short, Mullen wants a more diverse offense than Rodriguez. Implementing that offense last year may have caused White to struggle at times, but by December's bowl game White had become a more capable passer, something that no doubt allowed him to become a second round pick in April's NFL draft.
Brown has had a year to work with Mullen and that should bode well for the quarterback whose skills are in line with the kind of system Mullen wants to run. That is all positive as there are two months before the season opens.
There is a fly in the ointment though. Already thin at quarterback, much heralded freshman Geno Smith has suffered a foot injury that could keep him off the field until mid August or later. Coley White, Pat's younger brother, is listed as the number two quarterback heading into fall camp, but there was hope among fans that Smith would have the skills to come in as a true freshman and win the backup position. What appears to be a broken bone will surely slow down the process.
Either way, a very inexperienced player is one play away from being WVU's starting quarterback.