In 2019, Jarret Doege took the reigns of the West Virginia offense at the end of the season from then starting quarterback Austin Kendall. Doege performed well leading the Mountaineers to a 2-1 record in the final three games including a road win over No. 24 Kansas State.
There was some excitement heading into this past season that Doege would take the next step in his development as the starting quarterback and become one of the top signal-callers in the league. At times, Doege had moments of brilliance but also had many downfalls. It was a season of inconsistency and a poor showing in the bowl game vs Army that has folks wondering if he is the guy moving forward.
WVU head coach Neal Brown says that for this team to make a jump in the Big 12 standings, Doege has to improve in some areas so that they can go toe to toe with the Oklahoma's, Oklahoma State's, Iowa State's, and Texas's of the world.
"He's got some things he's got to work on for sure," Brown said of Doege. "I think that his mobility has got to improve and listen, I don't think anybody is going to mistake him for Lamar Jackson or anything but he's got to continue to improve his movement in the pocket. Tom Brady is 43-years old now I believe and he's still at the top of his game as far as pocket movement and it's movement that probably the common fan doesn't even notice, but he is elite at moving in the pocket and I don't think anyone would say that he's a great athlete.
"We've got to improve on our ability to hit the deep ball. I thought he did a good job of taking care of the football. He didn't play very well in the bowl game, I think that's been noted but he didn't lose us any games and I think that's a step for a quarterback. Before you can win games, you need to not lose them. This spring is going to be big for him because there are certain things that he's got to do to be able to win against the teams that we're going to have to beat to take the next step."
Should Doege struggle next fall, he might have to peek over his shoulder to check if freshman Garrett Greene will be thrown into the mix. Greene easily has the most dual-threat ability of any of the quarterbacks on West Virginia's roster and now that he's got one year under his belt in the system, he too is ready to take the next step in his development.
"I think for Garrett, this is a huge spring," Brown said. "He graduated [high school] early and had the opportunity to go through spring ball last year and really only got two practices in. Things were going so fast, he didn't know which way was up honestly. During COVID, he had the opportunity to learn but he really missed those live reps. He got every Monday night football rep and grew - there were some ups and downs in the fall. I didn't think he was at a position where it was fair to him to put him out there because I think you've got to be careful playing quarterbacks before they're ready. You can see some guys that have been thrown into the fray, it didn't work out very well for them. That is one position where you don't play guys until they're ready. This spring is going to be big for him. He understands what our expectations are. He understands conceptually what we're doing both in the run and the pass game, he just needs live reps and he's going to get a ton of them."
Greene appears to be in a good position to earn the No. 2 spot on the depth chart right behind Doege but there is still a full slate of spring practice and fall camp to go through before we truly know where he is. The one thing that will help Greene is that he does have good mobility and is able to evade pressure, which is where Doege tends to struggle. At the very least, I would expect that Greene will have a package set up for him to run the ball and be a spark off the bench.
West Virginia will kickoff its 2021 season on September 4th at Maryland, time TBA.
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