Heading into the 2019 offseason, the biggest question mark surrounding the West Virginia football program is; Who will be replacing Will Grier as the starting quarterback in roughly 145 days when the Mountaineers take the field to host the James Madison Dukes?
Once Dana Holgorsen left the program, he left the program with only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster: redshirt junior Jack Allison and redshirt freshman Trey Lowe. When Neal Brown took over he quickly realized that the room needed more depth, so he quickly went after Oklahoma quarterback Austin Kendall who will have two years to play in Morgantown.
The majority of the fanbase expected it to be a two-man competition between Allison and Kendall, but coach Brown stated that “all three guys are getting equal reps right now” and by that he means that everyone is starting with a clean slate. The past doesn’t matter anymore to this coaching staff. What Allison and Lowe did in the bowl game vs Syracuse is irrelevant in regards to the competition. Although Lowe does not have the experience as those two, he is going to have the same opportunity to earn the job or at the very least position himself into a backup role.
What most did not expect was Neal Brown’s answer to which quarterback had been impressing last week. “He (Trent Jackson) threw the best balls down the field today. We’ve got to get better at quarterback, we’re too up and down at quarterback right now. We have some things that we do really really well and our best plays today were really good. But, what happens at quarterback is your only as good as you’re bad plays and our bad plays today were really bad, it’s stuff that’ll get you beat.” Brown said.
“I’m not down about the quarterbacks right now. Do I wish we were playing as good as we possibly could? Yes. Are we about where I thought we would be? Yes.” he added.
Now the thing with that statement by coach Brown is, is this just coach speak to motivate the other three on scholarship or is Trent Jackson going to push himself into the battle? We will get a better idea once the spring game arrives and he gets his chance to run the offense to see what he is capable of.
I never like to assume, but I’ll do it just this one time. I assume that this competition will ultimately come down to Allison or Kendall, but I’ve been wrong many times before. Let’s not forget about how a freshman walk-on in the Big 12 eventually wound up winning a Heisman and becoming the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft, cough…cough… Baker Mayfield.
With that being said, I believe Jackson will fall somewhere in between being the casual, everyday walkon to potentially winning the Heisman and becoming the next Baker Mayfield. How do you like that for my projection?
In all seriousness, this could be a cause for concern if neither Allison or Kendall have emerged quite yet, but it is still fairly early to press the panic button just yet. When all three quarterbacks are getting equal reps and are learning a new playbook along with the rest of the offense, it’s going to take time for chemistry and timing to set in. Or just for these guys to know what the hell is going on for any given play.
The beauty of it all is, it’s all going to play itself out as it always does and someone will win the job and take command of the offense. When will we know said, person? Who knows. We may not know until the offense trots out onto Mountaineer Field for the first time on August 31st.