West Virginia Football is less than two weeks away from a game against FCS powerhouse James Madison, and as of Monday at 5 p.m. Eastern, the Mountaineers have yet to announce a quarterback.
Head coach Neal Brown hasn’t gone into a lot of detail in describing his quarterback situation, which has led to a fair amount of speculation.
One quarterback that Brown hasn’t been shy about discussing is Trey Lowe. This may cause fans to speculate that the redshirt freshman is pushing for the starting job, and there could be some truth to this. Brown has stated before that he doesn’t necessarily need an athletic quarterback, but a signal-caller that can extend plays. Lowe is a player that may fit the bill.
“I think Trey Lowe had his best day yesterday,” Brown said after the first team scrimmage. “I thought he had a really solid day. It’s slowing down for him. You still got to remember, he’s a redshirt freshman. So, the game’s slowing down”
Brown expanded on how Lowe performed in that first scrimmage.
“Trey Lowe did some good things,” stated Brown. “We let him run the ball and he did some nice things in the running game and then hit a long touchdown as well… He’s got a chance to help us. He continues to get better. He’s a redshirt freshman. He got to play a little bit in the bowl game, but he’s a redshirt freshman. He’s a little bit on a roller coaster right now, he’s up and down, but today he played more continuous snaps and I thought he showed some real positive signs.”
If you’re looking for some insight on the rest of the quarterbacks, you won’t find it from Neal Brown, who hasn’t substantively addressed the quarterback competition since the beginning of fall camp.
“Jack (Allison) and Austin (Kendall) probably have the best understanding of what we’re doing right now,” Brown said. “It’s a little slower for them. I think our completion percentages and our decision making are up from spring, which is positive.”
Brown even mentioned Bowling Green transfer Jarret Doege.
“Doege has done some positive things. He can throw the football. He’s real poised. He’s getting accustomed to how we do things, just because these are his first practices.”
That’s all the specifics that the head coach is willing to offer, though quarterbacks coach Sean Reagan went into a little more detail on each quarterback earlier in camp.
Heading into the final scrimmages before his team turns its attention to JMU on Thursday, Brown reiterated that the quarterback competition was still open.
“The quarterback battle is still up in the air,” explained Brown. “I think all three of those guys did some good things today, but they put us in some bad spots as far as taking sacks and turning the ball over, so we’ve got to get better at that.”
Brown believes he would have his starter coming out of the second scrimmage.
“We’re going to do a bunch of live works” stated Brown. “I think this week is going to be a good indicator. My assessment is broken down in segments. You get through a segment, you usually scrimmage at the end of that segment and assess where we’re at. So, by the weekend, assess where we’re at, so hopefully coming out of that we’ll have a good idea.”
What does all this mean? Fall camp is a long process of evaluating players, and if you just went by the head coach’s statements, it might appear that he likes Lowe, but he also said several times he’s only a redshirt freshman. To me, that means Lowe doesn’t quite understand how to read a defense yet. At times, he might be able to overcome a lack of reads with his athleticism.
Since I don’t have enough information to talk about the depth chart, I can’t give give my opinion on who the starter will be, but I can reiterate what Sean Reagan and Neal Brown have been stating: there has been a lot of improvement. I don’t think 2019 will be the doom-and-gloom scenario that some people are making it out to be. There will be some growing pains, but West Virginia has guys in the quarterback room that can get the job done.
Since WVU is starting its preparation for JMU on Thursday, I fully expect a starter to be named on Tuesday.