During the ESPN broadcast of West Virginia's game vs Texas earlier this season, sideline reporter, Taylor McGregor, said that WVU starting quarterback Jarret Doege plans on returning to the team for one more season using the free COVID year the NCAA granted all student-athletes.
However, when asked if that decision has been finalized, Doege said that he was focused on the team's upcoming game against Kansas at the time and would have a conversation with head coach Neal Brown at the end of the season.
If Doege does choose to come back for one more season, what should we expect to take place?
For starters, I would keep an eye on the rest of the quarterback room. Doege coming back for an extra season may be a bit unappealing to the other younger quarterbacks on the roster, Garrett Greene and Will Crowder. I'm not suggesting that either would transfer but it's something you have to think about in today's world of college athletics. Doege wouldn't be coming back to fight for the starting job, the job would be his. Crowder, a year younger, may be willing to wait it out and continue to develop whereas Greene may be getting the itch to start.
As far as the on-the-field play is concerned, Doege coming back would also signal to me that he doesn't believe Greene and Crowder will be ready to have the keys to the offense. You can blame that on the staff for a lack of development, poor evaluating, or it could just simply mean they're not where they need to be just yet. Doege has played better football since the bye week but there are still too many occasions where he puts the ball in harm's way or refuses to throw the ball away and takes a sack. I'm not sure that's something that can be corrected if it hasn't been done to this point in his career. If he were a freshman or sophomore having those issues, that's a different story. Five years in and he still has those same issues? At this point, he is what he is.
All this being said, unless there's an opportunity to snag someone in the transfer portal, Doege may once again give them the best chance to win. Regardless of how you see it, if it's not Doege under center, there will be major growing pains for the offense. Heading into year four on the job, I don't believe Brown is going to feel comfortable having a first-year starting quarterback playing on the road at Pitt and Virginia Tech, then go through a challenging Big 12 slate. Another disappointing season could cost Brown his job so it's a fine line that he must walk. Going into 2022 with essentially a four-year starter that has chemistry with a slew of receivers seems more ideal.
What should Brown do? I would scower the transfer portal to see what options are available there. If there's an opportunity to bring in someone with starting experience that is better than the current options on the roster, you do it. If not, I think you roll with one of the three young guys - Greene, Crowder, or Nicco Marchiol and part ways with Doege. Let's face it, Doege is not the future of the program, and bringing Doege back in 2022 is only going to delay one of those youngsters from taking over the reins and potentially building something special. Plus, it's not like Doege's return automatically makes this team a contender in the Big 12. They're still a ways away from being a part of that conversation.
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