Brown and Gold-Blue thoughts
While awaiting the decisions of three or four West Virginia University basketball players on whether they intend to return to WVU for another season or turn pro, spring football drills have come and gone. Spring football culminated Saturday with the annual Gold-Blue game. The game was streamed on ESPN+ which was nice, but even though I watched the scrimmage, I never really grasped the scoring system used to determine the 39-38 win by the Gold over the Blue.
The proceedings consisted of numerous drills where points could be won and actual scrimmage where more points could be gained. My primary focus was to see how incumbent starting quarterback Jarret Doege and his redshirt freshman challenger Garrett Greene would perform.
Doege beat out former Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall last fall and Kendall saw only a handful of plays all season. That is until he came into the second half of the Liberty Bowl to relieve Doege and lead WVU to a comeback win over Army. Kendall has moved on, but Doege’s play last season has left many West Virginia fans wondering if he can get the Mountaineers over the hump. At this juncture if Doege can’t step it up the only option is Greene. There is no scenario that true freshman Will Crowder can win the job.
Saturday’s stat line had Doege 10-of-14 for 79 yards and Greene 8-of-16 for 103 yards including a 51-yard touchdown to highly regarded freshman Kaden Prather. Greene also served up an interception and was nearly picked off a couple other times. Early assessment is Doege will have the job until Greene becomes a little more reliable with the football.
One clear advantage Greene has in this quarterback competition, if indeed it is a true competition at this point, is his running ability. In Saturday’s scrimmage plays on the quarterback were blown dead when they were touched, so Greene’s open field skills weren’t on display, but the feeling is he has those skills based on some escapes from the pocket he did make.
One highlight did not involve a football player. At halftime, Doege and Greene had a special guest join them in quarterback competitions — WVU point guard Miles “Deuce” McBride, himself a former standout high school quarterback at Archbishop Moeller in Cincinnati.
“I had an event with (men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins) last week and mentioned it to him,” head coach Neal Brown said. “He said, ‘as long as there’s no gear involved, I’m good with it.’ I figured the fans would enjoy it and they did. He was a great sport about it.”
Two days before the spring finale WVU Athletics director Shane Lyons announced a two-year contract extension through the 2026 season for Brown. Brown is 11-11 in his two seasons at WVU, but Lyons likes what he has seen so far.
“The recruiting seems to be going very, very well. He has created a culture within the program of a family atmosphere. In all areas, I saw improvement. I expect that in the next year that we have a good season in the fall of 2021. I am betting on the future and am betting on Neal Brown to keep him here in Morgantown,” Lyons said.
In a breaking situation there was a post from Athletes Sports Management that Derek Culver had become one of their clients, which, if true, would end his college eligibility. That news broke just after I typed the first paragraph. In the nearly two hours since Culver has denied it, but there is still plenty of smoke. Stay tuned.