As the calendar turns to August, the West Virginia football program inches closer and closer to kicking off the 2021 season.
The energy and momentum that Neal Brown and the coaching staff have brought to the table during the off-season has been anything but disappointing. As Brown enters his third year at the helm at WVU, he has been able to complete facility renovations while putting together a top 25 recruiting class for 2022.
The culture that Brown and staff have built so far at West Virginia has been amazing. If this video doesn’t get you excited for football this season, then nothing will.
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) August 1, 2021
As fall camp for the Mountaineers begins in just a few days, let’s take a look at the offensive side of the ball and who to pay attention to.
Quarterback Jarret Doege enters his third season with West Virginia and looks to improve off of his 2020 campaign. Brown dubbed Doege as the “most improved” player on the roster during the spring, as Doege continues to work on his mobile awareness.
“[My] main focus has been moving around in the pocket, realizing when to run, and realizing when to take a sack; just situational football,” Doege said. “I’ve gotten a lot better just moving in the pocket, maybe one, small little movement and making that throw helps a lot.”
In 2020, Doege threw for 2,587 yards—which ranked third from the Big 12 quarterbacks. The redshirt senior was sacked 20 times last season and looks to decrease that number down some.
The other Mountaineers that will help Doege try and improve on his situational football is the offensive line. Following the losses of Chase Behrndt and Michael Brown to the NFL, additions were made in Doug Nester, Wyatt Milum and Tomas Rimac. Nester is a transfer from Virginia Tech, while Milum and Rimac are incoming freshmen.
Last season, discipline during games was an issue for West Virginia, as a lot of mistakes were made that cost them a yards. In 2021, the offensive line is going to have to step up and create fewer errors. The line will be using a “next man up” mentality but it’ll be interesting to see how they come together to lead this year’s offense.
As for playmaking targets, Leddie Brown and Winston Wright Jr. are the clear returning playmakers. As far as guys to step up, look out for receivers Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Kaden Prather to attempt to take the next step in 2021.
During the off-season, Ford-Wheaton has been working on his diet and eating habits with a goal in place of becoming a ‘true athlete.’
“I really wanted to get better all around,” Ford-Wheaton said. “I’ve been going hard in the weight room trying to lean our muscle mass and I’ve been eating right, which is something that I haven’t really done in my past.”
In his early stages of college, Ford-Wheaton didn’t quite understand healthy eating habits but now he gets it.
“When I first came in, I saw guys like David Sills and Gary Jennings and there are so much older than me and they’re eating always healthy and I would always look at their plate and I’d be like, ‘Why are y’all eating that?’ They always told me one day you’re going to understand why and I finally do understand why,” Ford-Wheaton said.
Prather, an incoming freshman from Hyattesville, Maryland, has shown to have a great amount of potential. The four-star recruit showed his abilities to the West Virginia faithful for the first time during the spring game back in April. Prather had three receptions for 62 yards which included a 51-yard pass from Garrett Greene.
Prather is someone to keep an eye on for a long time at WVU.
The offense looks to have an opportunity to showcase what they are at their full potential as they return a lot of their core from 2020.