by Jim Buzzerd
A week ago, I was looking toward last Thursday’s first full scrimmage for the West Virginia University football team. My thinking was that we would get some intel on what is going on in the position battles. Well, the scrimmage has come and gone with no new depth chart released, so I’m still hunting snipes in the dark. Thursday’s scrimmage was closed to the media, but from some accounts from media that has had access to some camp sessions, there is little doubt that JT Daniels will be the number one quarterback in Pittsburgh on September 1.
The real question is who will be named the number two quarterback? Sophomore Garrett Greene, redshirt freshman Will Crowder and true freshman Nicco Marchiol are vying for the spot. Head coach Neal Brown has mentioned all three in positive terms during camp, but nothing really stands out except possibly one comment about Marchiol. Brown was asked who some of the players are making the most improvement since spring ball. He named Marchiol as one of those players.
Interestingly, the extra spot in the quarterback room was available because Jarret Doege, a two-year starter for the Mountaineers, decided to forego a final season at West Virginia and transfer to Western Kentucky.
At the time one wondered what prompted Doege’s decision. Doege was an enigma at WVU. In less than two and a half seasons Doege became the fifth all time leading passer in West Virginia history. He also showed a penchant for making costly mistakes at critical times. Interceptions, fumbles, taking sacks and his overall lack of mobility made him public enemy number one to many WVU fans. Many of these fans had no qualms about taking to social media and relentlessly bash Doege to no end.
I figure it is a small minority of fans that do this, but it was prevalent enough that Doege couldn’t possibly ignore it. Add to the situation that Brown was bringing in Marchiol whose athleticism would give him a shot to unseat the two-year starter. Probably not in September, but sometime during the season. Maybe Doege didn’t want to be a mentor.
So Doege took his 10,494 career passing yards from his stints at Bowling Green and WVU and transferred to WKU, a competitive Conference USA team. Last week I saw where Doege was likely to not become the starter there because Austin Reed, a Division II transfer from West Florida was ahead of Doege in fall camp. That information must have had merit, because Monday morning Doege was back in the transfer portal.
Indeed, an interesting development, one to keep an eye on. Where can Doege go at this late date? Any Division I team in need of a starter in the middle of August might not be a good place for an immobile quarterback. Maybe he’ll transfer down a level. It will be interesting to follow.
When the news of Doege’s transfer came out the Neal Brown detractors took to the interwebs to spin it as a failure by Brown. The logic was Brown started a guy for two seasons that couldn’t beat out a Division II player at a CUSA school, therefore Brown is a horrible coach. There is a point there, but the flaw seems to be Brown’s inability to bring in a top transfer, like he did this season with Daniels. Absent a better option, Brown played who he thought could win more games.
I agree with that assessment, but there was a point where seeing more of Greene and Crowder would have made sense. Draw your own conclusion.