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Neal Brown Navigating a Two-Quarterback System

Jarret Doege and Garrett Greene give opposing defenses different looks.

The old saying "if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one" might have some truth, but for West Virginia head coach Neal Brown, a two-quarterback system may be the best way for the Mountaineers to win games in 2021. 

Jarret Doege is the best option for Brown in terms of throwing the football, and it's probably not even close. Redshirt freshman Garrett Greene has a strong arm, but he is still learning to read a defense and go through his progressions. He had very little experience throwing the football during his high school career; therefore, he wasn't asked to go through reads or understand certain coverages. It is all new to him.

"He's going through this maturation and growth process," Neal Brown said a couple of weeks ago. "He's a guy that didn't have what I would say 'normal quarterback upbringing.' So, the way the quarterbacks are kind of brought up now is that they play seven on seven starting in middle school, and you do a bunch of seven on seven tournaments, and you have seven on seven teams, and you have spring football, and you're basically getting a bunch of live reps. And for him, that just wasn't his experience. He was a baseball player. He comes from a baseball family. He played summer baseball. He didn't go through spring practice. He didn't go to many (spring) practices at all. He played in an offense that was really run-base. It wasn't a spread type of offense."

The one area where Greene shines is where Doege lacks - mobility. Greene is a real weapon with his legs which allows Brown to be more flexible with his playcalling when he is in the game. Jarret Doege is a traditional pocket passer. However, he feels uncomfortable when flushed out of the pocket and often makes the wrong decision while throwing on the run. 

Neal Brown understands the reality of the situation: there is no option in the passing game other than Doege. The staff knew that coming into this season but felt like Doege made major strides in the offseason that there wouldn't be any issues. 

Unfortunately, things have been a bit shaky for the 2nd-year starting quarterback, having turned the ball over four times in just 2.5 games. Of course, turnovers are the biggest issue, but the offense falls asleep in the 2nd half nearly every game. In addition, Doege hasn't done a good job of adjusting to the adjustments made by the opposing defense, which leads to the WVU defense having to save the day nearly every game. 

Inserting Greene into the game will provide the Mountaineer offense with a spark. In addition, it will keep the defense on their toes when he is in the game. The only thing Brown must make sure of is not to run Greene every time he's in the game. Instead, give him some easy reads in the passing game, so defenses don't key in on the run. Putting Greene in just to run the football isn't going to solve much. Doing so would give you two one-dimensional quarterbacks instead of one. 

During the Tuesday press conference, Brown talked about how difficult it is to get a game plan together with both involved. 

"There's only so many reps to go around, and there's very little crossover with these two. It's probably more difficult for the defenses, but there's some challenges when you're putting together a game plan because it's really important that you keep everything for the offensive line the same. That's where the challenge comes in, like, okay, how much can you do? How can we present differently to the defense with each quarterback? And how you rotate them within a game, there's a feel to it. Garrett, I don't know if I have a total feel for him in games yet. I thought he did some really good things on Saturday. There's a couple that weren't so good, but I thought he ran the ball well. And he can throw it. You know, we haven't asked him to do it as much, but he can - he's got a really strong arm. There's a science to it. We don't have it completely figured out yet, but we're working through it."

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